The CBS television network and the Grammy Awards both came under criticism on February 6 2023 for refusing to provide Puerto Rican artist Bad Bunny with suitable closed-captioning.
“As a Puerto Rican, Latina and Spanish speaker, putting ‘[SINGING IN NON-ENGLISH]’ while Bad Bunny (one of the most popular artists in the world) sings in Spanish in a country with millions of Spanish speakers, is IGNORANT and INSULTING,” said Lyra Hale, a news editor for the pop-culture news site Remezcla. “Do better CBS.”
While Grammy winners speaking in English received regular closed-captioning, the caption for Bunny’s acceptance speech after he won the Best Música Urbana Album award also read “Speaking in Non-English”:
CBS and the Grammys might not have known that Bad Bunny would win a gramophone during the live telecast, but they knew that he would be on stage performing his songs that are in Spanish. This could’ve been planned and have someone multilingual working on the closed captions for the night.
Sources tell Deadline that CBS was planning to show the Spanish-language captions during the West Coast replay of the show as well as the Paramount+ on-demand show.
In accepting the award for the album Un Verano Sin Tí, Bunny began his remarks by saying:
Gracias. This is really easy. Humble. It’s easy because I just made it — this album with love and passion, nothing else. And when you do things with love and passion, everything is easier, the life is easier. I want to thank everyone who listens to my music.
At that point he switched to Spanish, saying, “Thank you to all the Latinos in the whole world, in the United States and the whole world. Thank you to all the artists who worked on this album.”
After thanking several of the album’s producers, he dedicated the award to his native Puerto Rico, which he called “the cradle and the capital of reggaeton in the whole world.”
“I want to dedicate this to all the legends and especially to the new [artists],” he continued. “Not just the legends but the new [artists] who maintain and refresh the movement. So to all the new talents, let’s keep taking this genre to another level. I love you, thank you.”
We found that the Grammys YouTube account also fails to provide suitable captioning for the bilingual speech; when using YouTube’s auto-generated English subtitles service, Bunny’s remarks in Spanish are listed as “foreign”:
And when adjusting the settings to provide Spanish-language subtitles, the account translates Bunny’s English-language remarks but then lists the Spanish-language portion as “extranjera” (“foreign” in English):
According to Deadline:
CBS has added Spanish language closed captioning to replays of Bad Bunny’s Grammy performances following a backlash on social media. The network had already updated the West Coast primetime rebroadcast Sunday night with the Spanish language closed captioning for Bad Bunny’s opening performance. The on-demand replays of the Grammys on Paramount+ now also include Spanish closed captioning.
Like other streaming platforms, Paramount+ will not allow users to capture broadcast images; however, we were able to confirm that Bunny’s performance did indeed offer Spanish-language closed captioning: