“Donald Trump” made an unexpected cameo in Disney+’s live broadcast of Elton John’s U.S. farewell concert — but the ex-president’s name popped up in the closed captions due to a technical glitch at the streaming service’s external vendor, not because a hack or an employee going rogue.
Some Disney+ viewers watching “Elton John Live: Farewell From Dodger Stadium,” the artist’s final North American concert on Sunday, spotted errant “Donald Trump” text in the closed captions at a few points in the livestream, according to posts on social media.
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Disney will be firing someone. They snuck Donald Trump into the closed captioning of the Elton John Live concert for about 30 seconds and then started to delete it. #DisneyPlus pic.twitter.com/rJu156hEG2
— Derek (@DMPicone) November 21, 2022
What happened? Reps for Disney+ declined to comment.
According to a source familiar with the situation, the weird glitch occurred like this: Disney+ enlisted an outside vendor to produce the live closed-captioning, which used a combination of automated speech-to-text recognition and an operator to check the transcription. The third-party vendor frequently transcribes news events. As such, the term “Donald Trump” was in the system’s autofill keyword list, which would be triggered by a keyboard shortcut command — and somehow, Trump was inserted where no Trump should have existed, before the human operator was able to fix the mistake.
TMZ previously reported on the closed-caption error, speculating that Disney+ had been hacked.
Disney+ presented “Elton John Live: Farewell From Dodger Stadium” exclusively on Sunday from 8-11 p.m. PT. A two hour, 54 minute replay of the concert is available on demand on the service; that was slightly delayed as Disney+ and its partner worked to fix the captioning errors.
The concert event, produced by Fulwell 73 Productions and Rocket Entertainment, featured the singer performing his biggest hits, including “Bennie and the Jets,” “Tiny Dancer,” “I’m Still Standing,” “Crocodile Rock” and “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.” Gucci refashioned John’s sparkly 1975 Dodger uniform into a robe, and Bob Mackie recreated his iconic Dodger cap. Dua Lipa, Kiki Dee and Brandi Carlile each honored Elton John on stage with duet performances of “Cold Heart,” “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart” and “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me,” respectively.
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