The advertisement seemed to connect Bieber with the mainstream success of Luis Fonsi’s “Despacito” (featuring Daddy Yankee) in the United States. The Canadian star remixed the already global hit in April and that version became the first No. 1 Spanish-language single in the country since the “Macarena” in 1996.
The ad garnered attention after one Twitter user posted a screenshot and a short message directed at Spotify on June 14. The message in the tweet included a few words asking the streaming company to take down the ad on behalf of the Latinx community.
Latinos have pointed out that the Spotify ad whitewashed the work of the Latino artists who were truly behind the mega hit. Twitter users responded to the ad by threatening to stop using Spotify and calling it “disgusting.”
The company responded to the furor in a statement Thursday.
“We made a creative decision to feature Justin Bieber in our ad because we wanted to celebrate ‘Despacito’ as a key cultural moment when music genres crossover,” a Spotify spokesperson told HuffPost via e-mail. “We realized that this could be seen as culturally insensitive so we have pulled those ads.”
When HuffPost asked if Spotify planned to issue an apology to the community, the company responded saying there were no current plans to issue anything further.