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Logan Paul blasted for accusing Bad Bunny of secretly benefitting from Puerto Rico tax scheme

Puerto Rican artist has previously called out YouTuber as part of rich influx to island for tax breaks

Josh Marcus
San Francisco
Friday 07 October 2022 15:42 BST
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Music fans are hitting back at controversial YouTuber Logan Paul for accusing Puerto Rican reggaeton superstar Bad Bunny of benefitting from the island’s generous foreign tax breaks, which the singer has previously criticised.

Mr Paul, who said in 2021 the “primary reason” he relocated to the island was for financial benefits, accused Bad Bunny of being a hypocrite during an appearance this week on the Philip DeFranco Show on YouTube.

"It’s tough because I love Bad Bunny. I think he’s an amazing entertainer, I think he’s a generational talent, but I do find it hypocritical because Bad Bunny is a Puerto Rican, living in Puerto Rico, who is privately taking advantage of the same tax program that he is publicly condemning," Mr Paul said.

Mr Paul was referencing Act 22, a 2012 law allowing foreign businesspeople to receive exemption from taxes on passive income like stocks and crypto if they invest in local residential property.

In a recent music video for his song “El Apagón,” Bad Bunny features a documentary about inequality in Puerto Rico, where journalist Bianca Graulau calls out Mr Paul by name as one of the wealthy foreigners driving gentrification, environmental damage, and inequality on the island.

Mr Paul did not provide proof of his claims, only saying "I know this” and “There are local Puerto Ricans who know about this” on the YouTube show.

“Again while I love Bad Bunny, I cannot personally support the hypocritical nature of his exploitation," Mr Paul added.

The Independent has contacted Bad Bunny, his manager, and Logan Paul for comment.

It would appear unlikely that Bad Bunny is benefitting from the programme the vlogger is referencing. Those born in Puerto Rico do not pay US federal taxes, but are also largely ineligible for the incentive tax schemes the island’s government has set up in recent years.

To benefit from Act 22, recipients can’t have lived in Puerto Rico for the last 10 years; Bad Bunny, real name Benito Antonio Martínez Ocasio, has lived in San Juan as recently as 2020 and was born in Puerto Rico.

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Fans of the artist and residents of Puerto Rico were furious with the accusation.

"BREAKING: White colonizer tries to gaslight and bend the truth after his feelings were hurt after being called a colonizer," Twitter user @elcielodeabril wrote in response to a clip of Mr Paul speaking about Bad Bunny.

The allegations of benefitting from the tax programme are serious business in Puerto Rico, where many locals feel the government has sold out the island to wealthy foreign businesspeople and investors as a means to escape a yearslong governmental finance crisis.

As one resident says in the Bad Bunny music video, if things carry on at their present case, “We’ll be foreigners in our own land.”

The influx of new property owners in Puerto Rico has also had environmental effects, destroying crucial mangrove habitat and blocking off sections of beach that are public under Puerto Rican law.

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