SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — Bad Bunny’s ex–girlfriend is suing the superstar for at least $40 million over a well-known voice recording she provided the singer before he became famous.
Carliz De La Cruz Hernández, whose breathy “Bad Bunny, baby” recording was included in two of the artist’s songs, claimed in a lawsuit filed this month in a Puerto Rico court that her voice and the phrase she came up with are being used without her permission.
The lawsuit, which was first reported by online Puerto Rico news site Noticel, notes that the phrase was used in the “Pa Ti,” song, which has more than 355 million views on YouTube and more than 235 million reproductions on Spotify. It also was used in the “Dos Mil 16” song, which has more than 60 million views on YouTube and 280 million reproductions on Spotify.
The lawsuit states that De La Cruz’s “distinguishable voice” also has been used without her consent for songs, records, promotions, worldwide concerts, television, radio and social and musical platforms.
“Since then, thousands of people have commented directly on Carliz’s social media networks, as well as every time she goes to a public place, about the ‘Bad Bunny, baby.’ This has caused, and currently causes, that De La Cruz feels worried, anguished, intimidated, overwhelmed and anxious,” the lawsuit states.
Also sued is Noah Kamil Assad Byrne, manager for Bad Bunny, whose real name is Benito Martínez Ocasio.
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Assad and representatives of Bad Bunny did not immediately respond to a message for comment.
De La Cruz and Martínez first became a couple in 2011. A year later, they began studying at the University of Puerto Rico in the north coastal town of Arecibo while also working at a nearby grocery store. The lawsuit stated that during that time, Martínez was constantly creating songs and rhythms and would seek opinions from De La Cruz, who also was in charge of scheduling his parties and handling invoices and contracts.
The birth of the phrase, “Bad Bunny, baby,” came about in 2015, and Martínez asked De La Cruz to record herself saying it. She did so in a bathroom one day while staying with a friend because that’s where it was least noisy and then sent it to him, the lawsuit stated.
On Jan. 1, 2016, Martínez asked De La Cruz to marry him, and they made plans to do so in July 2016. But in April 2016, Rimas Entertainment signed Martínez. That same year, De La Cruz was accepted into the University of Puerto Rico’s law school, and she ended her relationship with Martínez in May 2016.
They got back together in 2017, but once again went their separate paths.
Then in May 2022, a Bad Bunny representative reached out to De La Cruz, saying he needed to talk to her.
“In that call, (the representative) said, ’I know you don’t like to talk about Voldemort (referring to Martínez), but I need to ask you something,” the lawsuit stated.
He offered her $2,000 to buy the recording of her voice. De La Cruz declined and then spoke with someone at Rimas Entertainment who also offered to buy it, saying the recording would be used in the upcoming album, “Un Verano Sin Ti,” the lawsuit stated.
But a deal was never reached, and the song was published without De La Cruz’s consent, according to the lawsuit.