Bad Bunny’s days as Benito Martínez Ocasio might cost him about $40 million. An ex-girlfriend from before the international fame has filed a lawsuit against the Puerto Rican rapper for repeatedly using a voice recording she made years ago.
Carliz De La Cruz Hernández is the voice behind the well-known audio, “Bad Bunny, baby.”
According to AP News, Hernández filed the multi-million-dollar lawsuit in Puerto Rico in March, alleging her voice and the phrase are being used without her consent.
Noticel, a local media outlet, first broke the story. Carliz is also suing Benito’s manager, Noah Kamil Assad Byrne.
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The rapper used Carliz’s voice recording in the intros of two songs and their respective music videos. Bad Bunny released the first song, Pa Ti, in December 2016 and the second, Dos Mil 16, in May 2022. On YouTube alone, the video for the 2016 track has over 358 million views, while the 2022 track’s video has over 63 million views.
Additionally, Hernández claims Bad Bunny has used the recording in “songs, records, promotions, worldwide concerts, television, radio, social media, and musical platforms,” per AP.
Given the exposure, the suit says “thousands of people” have approached Hernández publicly and via social media about the phrase. She says the attention has brought on mental anguish.
The lawsuit states:
“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.”
Before The Lawsuit: Why Bad Bunny’s Ex Recorded ‘Bad Bunny Baby’
Benito and Carliz reportedly began dating in 2011 before attending the University of Puerto Rico in Arecibo. During their time as students and employees at a local grocery store, Benito’s Bad Bunny stardom was brewing.
While he created songs and rhythms, Hernández was in charge of scheduling gigs and overseeing invoices and contracts. He often, per the lawsuit, sought his then-girlfriend’s thoughts on his music.
By 2015, the pair was still going strong, and the “Bad Bunny Baby” phrase came about. Within the same year, Bad Bunny asked Hernández to record the phrase, which she did inside a friend’s bathroom and sent to her then-boyfriend.
LA INSPIRACIÓN DE BENITO. Este hilo es con fin de entrener y para hablar sobre una persona que ha sido fuente de inspiración para las letras de Benito, y como él la sigue recordando en sus canciones. Carliz, su exnovia. pic.twitter.com/mvMyFu9zij
— v (@vicentetrujllo) July 23, 2019
Their love continued to flourish, with Bunny asking Hernández to marry him on January 1, 2016. Then, life happened. Benito signed with Rimas Entertainment in April 2016, and Carliz got an acceptance into the University of Puerto Rico’s law school. By May 2016, she called off their wedding, planned for July 2016, and ended the relationship.
Though they reconciled in 2017, it didn’t last long. But then, a rep for Bad Bunny contacted Carliz in May 2022 with an offer to buy the recording of Carliz’s voice for $2,000.
At the time, Hernández says she declined the offer but later spoke to someone from Rimas Entertainment, who also offered to buy the recording. They planned to include it in Bad Bunny’s Un Verano Sin Ti album, released in May 2022. But, ultimately, Bad Bunny’s rep, his label, and Carliz never settled on a deal.
Yet, her voice recording was still used in the Dos Mil 16 track and promotional content. As mentioned, Hernández is seeking $40 million for using the recording without her consent.
Meanwhile, Bad Bunny appears to have moved on from their failed relationship. Paparazzi have spotted the rapper in at least two group outings with Kendall Jenner, including photographs of them appearing to share a kiss.
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