Ex-girlfriend of rapper Bad Bunny files $40 million lawsuit against him for using his voice without permission
Rapper Bad Bunny’s ex-girlfriend is suing the rapper for at least $40 million over a well-known vocal recording she provided to the singer before he rose to fame.
Carliz De La Cruz Hernández, whose breathy recording “Bad Bunny, baby” has been included in two of the artist’s songs, claimed in a lawsuit filed this month in a Puerto Rico court that his voice and phrase she had invented were being used without her permission.
The lawsuit, which was first reported by Puerto Rico’s online news site Noticel, notes that the phrase was used in the song “Pa Ti,” which has more than 355 million views on YouTube. and over 235 million plays on Spotify. It was also used in the song “Dos Mil 16”, which has over 60 million views on YouTube and 280 million plays on Spotify.
The lawsuit states that De La Cruz’s “distinctive voice” has also been used without his consent for songs, records, promotions, worldwide concerts, television, radio, and social and music platforms.
“Since then, thousands of people have commented directly on Carliz’s social media, as well as whenever she goes to a public place, about the ‘Bad Bunny, baby.’ currently, that De La Cruz feels worried, distressed, intimidated, overwhelmed and anxious,” the lawsuit reads.
Bad Bunny manager Noah Kamil Assad Byrne, whose real name is Benito Martínez Ocasio, is also being sued.
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 northern coastal town of Arecibo while working at a nearby grocery store. The lawsuit said that during this time, Martínez was constantly creating songs and beats and would seek advice from De La Cruz, who was also responsible for planning his parties and handling bills and contracts.
The birth of the phrase “Bad Bunny, baby” came in 2015, and Martínez had De La Cruz record himself saying it. She did it in a bathroom one day while staying at a friend’s house because that was where it was quietest and then sent it to him, the lawsuit said.
On January 1, 2016, Martínez asked De La Cruz to marry him, and they planned to do so in July 2016. But in April 2016, Rimas Entertainment signed Martínez. That same year, De La Cruz was accepted into law school at the University of Puerto Rico, and she ended her relationship with Martínez in May 2016.
They got back together in 2017, but once again went separate ways. Then in May 2022, a rep for Bad Bunny reached out to De La Cruz, saying he needed to speak to her.
“On that call, (the rep) said, ‘I know you don’t like talking about Voldemort (referring to Martínez), but I have to ask you something,'” the lawsuit said.
He offered her $2,000 to buy the recording of her voice. De La Cruz refused and later spoke to someone from Rimas Entertainment who also offered to buy it, claiming the recording would be used in the next album, “Un Verano Sin Ti,” the lawsuit said. But a deal was never reached, and the song was released without De La Cruz’s consent, according to the lawsuit.