Bad Bunny fans have come out in defence of the Latin rapper over claims of “queerbaiting”.
The star earned enormous praise online for his performance of Tití Me Preguntó at the 2022 MTV Video Music Awards, where he passionately kissed a male and female dancer.
However, the moment did prompt accusations of queerbaiting, which the dictionary defines as the “practice of implying non-heterosexual relationships or attraction (in a TV show, for example) to engage or attract an LGBTQ audience or otherwise generate interest without ever actually depicting such relationships or sexual interactions.”
“I love Bad Bunny, loooove. But the #queerbaiting has to stop. It’s really cringy. If he’s gay or bi, fine. If not then please stop,” tweeted one viewer, while another wrote: “Bad Bunny doing the same Harry Styles does… just feels like 100% queerbaiting.”
Following backlash, fans highlighted how the kiss occurred shortly after two female artists, Villano Antillano and Tokischa, were condemned for locking lips at a show in San Juan.
“Bad Bunny kissing a male backup dancer was probably in response to how earlier this week, Puerto Rican media and some in the reggaeton space were outraged by a kiss between Villano Antillano and Tokischa,” said one Twitter user.
“Calling him a queerbaiter is not the serve y’all think.”
Another fan said the kiss was “a big thing” due to the high rates of violence against the Latin LGBTQ+ community, with another saying the detractors don’t understand “what he’s doing and how much importance it holds, especially in his community and the culture he comes from.”
Some of you saying Bad Bunny is queerbaiting were not around when he was doing this 7 years ago and his whole fan base (90% straight cis men) was cancelling him,
and it shows.
— Albert (@yourealbert) August 29, 2022
Bad Bunny has been outspoken about LGBTQ+ rights on numerous occasions throughout his career.
In 2019, the star criticised singer Don Omar for a tweet many perceived to be homophobic, writing: “Homophobia in this day and age? How embarrassing, loco.”
The following year on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Bad Bunny called attention to the death of Alexa, a trans woman who was murdered in Puerto Rico.
During a performance of his single Ignorantes, the rapper wore a skirt and a sweater that read, “They killed Alexa, not a man with a skirt,” referencing the various news reports that misgendered the victim.
In an interview with Rolling Stone, Bad Bunny said he feels a “big commitment to the [trans] community. Now that we are in quarantine, 108 cases of gender-based violence [have been reported] in Puerto Rico.
“As a human being, violence against women affects me. I am going to do what is within my reach to [work] against that. My message shouldn’t be a feminist message. It’s a universal message.”
Later that year, he donned full drag in his incredible music video for Yo Perreo Sola. In the same cover story with RS, Bad Bunny said he became a drag queen to “show support to those who need it. I may not be gay, but I’m a human who cares.”
Although Bad Bunny identifies as heterosexual, he has a refreshing perspective on his sexuality, telling the LA Times that it “does not define” him.
“At the end of the day, I don’t know if in 20 years I will like a man,” he explained. “One never knows in life. But at the moment I am heterosexual and I like women.”
He also revealed why it’s important for him to include queer and disenfranchised people in his work, saying “there are people who listen to reggaeton and love it and at the same time they have never felt represented within it.”
You can stream Bad Bunny’s record-breaking new album, Un Verano Sin Ti, below.