By AJ Dicandia
Image via Netflix Critically acclaimed Netflix series Narcos — which details the rise and fall of drug kingpin Pablo Escobar — is under some fire.
In September of 2016, Netflix renewed the series for a third and fourth season. The third season of _Narco_s premiered on Netflix on Sept. 1, 2017.
However, there’s been a lot of controversy surrounding the filming of season four. In season four, the series will move viewers from Colombia to Mexico — where the plot will focus on the Juarez cartel.
This is where things get interesting.
Escobar’s real-life brother, Roberto De Jesus Escobar Gaviria, wants a piece of the cake. In the 1980s, Gaviria served as the lead accountant for his brother’s empire — at one point known as the “chief of the hitmen” for the deadly Medellin cartel.
However, upon his release from prison in 2014, Gaviria founded Escobar Inc. and registered “successor-in-interest rights” for his brother in California. Additionally, Gaviria demanded $1 billion from Netflix for using his brother’s likeness and story without the family’s permission.
“Netflix are scared. They sent us a long letter to threaten us. Right now, we are in discussions with them through our attorneys Browne George Ross LLP to obtain our $1 billion payment. If we don’t receive it, we will close their little show.”
Gaviria obviously means business. In an interview with the _Hollywood Reporter _Gaviria said his family owns all the trademarks to their name and also the Narcos brand. He said he will not back down from the folks in Silicon Valley.
“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 products. But they don’t know life and would never dare to survive in the jungle of Medellin or Colombia. I have done that.”
Furthermore, in the interview, Gaviria also warned Netflix about filming in Mexico without his consent.
“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.”
Gaviria seems to have a good argument. On Sept. 11, a Netflix location scout for Narcos was shot and killed while scouting for locations in a rural area of Mexico.
“If you have the intellect, you don’t need to use weapons,” said Gaviria when asked about the recent death. “If not, you have to. In this case, Netflix should provide hitmen to their people as security.”
Regardless of the situation, if Gaviria and his family own the rights to the Narcos brand then Netflix will have to pay up. On the other hand, if they allow Netflix to move forward with the filming of season four, they might want to find a safer location.
Anthony (AJ) Dicandia is originally from St. Louis, Missouri but currently lives and works in Jackson, Mississippi. He is a graduate of the University of Mississippi obtaining a degree in journalism with an emphasis in print and a minor in history. Dicandia is very passionate about writing, music and sports.