CBS CEO George Cheeks Takes “Full Responsibility” For Close Captioning Snafu Involving Bad Bunny At Grammys

CBS CEO George Cheeks Takes “Full Responsibility” For Close Captioning Snafu Involving Bad Bunny At Grammys

One of the viewers who wasn’t too happy to see Bad Bunny’s performance at Sunday’s Grammys captioned with “SINGING NON-ENGLISH” was U.S. Rep. Robert Garcia (D-Long Beach), who apparently reached out to CBS President & CEO George Cheeks wanting an explanation for the blunder.

Viewers griped on social media that the closed captions did not translate what the artist was singing or saying. All they saw were the three words SPEAKING NON-ENGLISH, so those who did not speak Spanish could not understand what Bad Bunny sand or what he said when he won the Grammy in the Best Música Urbana Album category.

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In response to the backlash, CBS ended up adding Spanish language closed captioning to replays of Bad Bunny’s Grammy performances. Cheeks, meanwhile, responded to an inquiry by Garcia. The letter is below.

Dear Representative Garcia:

Thank you for your letter and sharing your feedback about the Grammy Awards.

The Grammys is our biggest live entertainment event of the year and an evening that showcases a wide range of diverse artists and voices. We were proud to open the broadcast with an electric Spanish-language performance by Grammy-winning artist Bad Bunny to a national and worldwide audience.

Regrettably, errors were made with respect to the close captioning of his performance and subsequent acceptance speech. We worked with a closed captioning vendor that did not execute at a standard to which we should rightfully be held. Regardless, we should have monitored the situation more closely. A bilingual (English and Spanish-language) real-time live captioner should have been utilized and the words used on the screen were insensitive to many. I take full responsibility for what happened.

As you acknowledged in your letter, our closed captioning team worked quickly to address the matter that night, updated the captioning for the West Coast encore, and later for on-demand playback on our streaming platform. Our teams are now re-examining the closed captioning process for all live entertainment events on the network to ensure we properly caption Spanish-language content. We will keep you updated regarding our efforts on this matter.

Please be assured that diversity in our programming and an inclusive experience for our audiences will continue to be top priorities for CBS.

George Cheeks

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