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Why Did Netflix’s “Griselda” Get Sued?

Yasmine LAMNANI-IDRISSI

In a dramatic turn of events surrounding the Netflix series "Griselda," inspired by the life of infamous drug lord Griselda Blanco, a legal battle unfolded between the streaming giant, actress Sofia Vergara, and Blanco's sole heir, Michael Corleone Blanco. The show, which soared to the top spot on Netflix's charts in 89 countries upon its release, faced turbulence as Michael and his wife, Marie, took legal action, alleging the unauthorized use of their "image, likeness, and/or identity."

Michael claimed to have collaborated with producers from 2009 to 2022 with plans to develop both a book and a show. However, he felt sidelined in the show's development process, asserting that Netflix used his ideas without proper credit or compensation. The Blanco family, including Michael and Marie, sought damages of at least $50,000, leading to a legal showdown.

Despite the family's grievances, court documents obtained by The Hollywood Reporter revealed that Michael's complaints were dismissed "with prejudice," meaning he cannot refile elsewhere. Despite this legal setback, Michael Blanco openly expressed his dissatisfaction on "The Real Griselda" podcast, where he described his emotional rollercoaster while watching the series.

Netflix's executive producer, Eric Newman, downplayed Michael's claims, emphasizing the fictionalized nature of the show. Newman stated, "We're not making a documentary; we're not writing a book about Griselda. So, we're not going to tell a story that's going to make everybody happy." Drawing parallels with previous legal disputes involving the Escobar family and Newman's other series, "Narcos," he remained steadfast in the show's creative choices.

Meanwhile, court documents obtained by Entertainment Tonight revealed a separate lawsuit filed by Blanco's family in a Miami-Dade County Court. The family, including Michael and Marie, contended that they did not authorize the use of their images and sought to block the series from airing. Blanco, formerly known as Michael Sepulveda Blanco, claimed that Netflix relied on anecdotes from others, failing to properly compensate him for his mother's story.

As the legal battles unfolded, Netflix, Sofia Vergara, and the Blanco family have reportedly reached a settlement, bringing an end to the courtroom drama. The terms of the settlement remain undisclosed. Despite the fallout, Netflix remains pleased with the series' reception, emphasizing the distinction between fiction and reality in their portrayal of Griselda Blanco's life. Notably, the show continued to dominate the Global Top 10 list for three consecutive weeks, accumulating over 20 million views in its first two weeks and an additional 10 million in the third week. #GriseldaBlanco #GriseldaSeries #Netflix

image credits to Netflix

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