More than 12 million viewers tuned in to watch live the American Music Awards in Los Angeles Sunday night. They were treated to performances from some of music’s biggest names including Justin Timberlake, Katy Perry, Lady Gaga and Miley Cyrus.
Also on stage – hosting and performing – was international superstar rapper Pitbull. And this rubbed some viewers the wrong way.
Viewers took to social media, such as the hashtag #AMA on Twitter, to not only criticize the rapper’s hosting skills but also questioning why he was chosen to host the American Music Awards because he “isn’t American."
Some called him Mexican.
Neither is true.
Pitbull, whose real name is Armando Perez, was born in Miami to Cuban immigrants, but this didn’t seem to deter the vitriol.
The complaints on Twitter weren't limited just to Pitbull, who was chosen to host this year’s AMAs to celebrate the 25 anniversary of Gloria Estefan’s appearance on the show and the 15th year of the favorite artist Latin category.
Estefan, whose family fled Cuba following the revolution, was the first Latin AMA performer.
Viewers questioned why there was a Latin category in the first place and angry tweets started swirling as soon as salsa crooner Marc Anthony – who was born in New York City – took the stage to receive his award for favorite Latin artist.
Similar reactions from viewers is a continuing trend that has had several instances this year. In San Antonio, 11-year-old Sebastien De La Cruz wowed fans with his rendition of the National Anthem at Game 3 of the NBA Finals.
The problem for many viewers was that De La Cruz, who rose to fame during his appearance on “American’s Got Talent,” decided to dress in an authentic Mariachi outfit, sparking many racist tweets.
Anthony was also a target of racist tweets earlier this year when he sang “God Bless America” at the 2013 baseball All Star Game in New York City’s Citi Field. One Tweet read: “Why the [expletive] is a spic singing God Bless America?”
Neither Pitbull nor Anthony have responded to any of the tweets, though they did thank fans on Twitter for their support during the show.