The family of Pablo Escobar is threatening Netflix with a $1bn (£740m) copyright lawsuit over the hit series Narcos. The Colombian drug kingpin's family offered "no comment" regarding the 11 September shooting death of Narcos location scout Carlos Munoz Portal in Mexico.
Roberto De Jesus Escobar Gaviria, Escobar's 71-year-old brother, told The Hollywood Reporter (THR) that the show's producers are not equipped for filming in the cartel-filled areas of Mexico and Colombia. Gaviria noted that the producers would benefit from hiring "hitmen...as security".
Despite telling VICE in 2014 that he had placed the cartel life "all behind me...I do good now," Gaviria sent out a veiled threat to the streaming giant in an interview with THR on Monday (18 September).
"I don't want Netflix or any other film production company to film any movies in Medellin or Colombia that relates to me or my brother Pablo without authorization from Escobar Inc.," he said.
"It is very dangerous. Especially without our blessing. This is my country."
According to THR, Gaviria threatened to "close their little show" if Netflix fails to pay $1bn to his company, Escobar Inc., for intellectual property violations.
"You see, we own all the trademarks to all of our names and also for the Narcos brand. I don't play around with these people in Silicon Valley. They have their phones and nice product. But they don't know life and would never dare to survive in the jungle of Medellin or Colombia. I have done that," Gaviria said.
"Netflix are scared," he said. "They sent us a long letter to threaten us."
In the 27 July letter, lawyers for Narcos Productions, LLC (NPL) contend that Escobar Inc. filed to trademark NARCOS and CARTEL WARS on 20 August 2016 to cover a wide range of goods and services without the "knowledge or consent" of NPL. The letter goes on to call the claims "fraudulent".
Lawyers for Netflix have threatened to retaliate by suing the Escobar family, THR reported.