Bad Bunny
Bad Bunny, a global reggaeton sensation whose latest album just topped the Billboard 200 for the 11th week, released a short documentary on Puerto Rico’s infrastructure failures and gentrification. Shareif Ziyadat/Getty Images

After Puerto Rican star Bad Bunny's appearances onstage at the Grammys on Sunday, U.S. Congressman Robert Garcia wrote an open letter to George Cheeks, who is CBS Entertainment president and CEO.

The politician called out the network's failure to provide closed captioning during the artist's Grammy appearances, reported Variety.

As the artist opened the Grammys with a mash-up of his songs, attendees danced at the Arena in Los Angeles. But at many homes across the globe, viewers didn't understand what the Puerto Rican artist was singing. While he performed in Spanish, CBS displayed captions saying that he was singing in "NON-ENGLISH," according to The Washington Post.

Even when the Puerto Rican rapper and singer won the award for the Música Urbana album, his acceptance speech appeared on the screen as "[SPEAKING NON-ENGLISH]."

Garcia, who is a Peruvian immigrant, acknowledged in the letter that CBS has since added captions to replays of the music awards' night. Still, he maintained that Cheeks must "take serious measures to address the failures which made this mistake possible."

Garcia, a Democrat representing California's 42nd congressional district, said that "Bad Bunny's opening performance at the 2023 Grammy's was supposed to highlight a point of historic inclusivity in our country." But CBS' failure to properly close caption his performance and his acceptance speech called "attention to an incredibly disappointing failure on part of a network that caters to the millions of Spanish speakers that we have here in the U.S."

He urged Cheeks to take "serious measures to address the failures which made this mistake possible."

Even Bad Bunny's fans were upset over this. According to HuffPost, viewers, including those who have hearing issues, complained the reductive transcription in the captions was "ignorant," "insulting," and "racist."

While his Grammy win would not be known ahead of the show, his act certainly was. This left Grammy organizers and CBS culpable for not hiring a bilingual closed-captioner. Other acts were transcribed properly onscreen.

Twitter users pointed out that deepening the disrespect is the artist's reach. He was streamed more than singer Taylor Swift in recently released Spotify data. He was second overall just behind Drake. But many of his fans felt that he was treated like a second-class citizen during the Grammy ceremony.

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