The Blanco Estate Settled Its Lawsuit Against Netflix and Sofía Vergara

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The 'Griselda' Case is Closednetflix

Viewers around the world are still watching Griselda, the Netflix series inspired by real-life figure Griselda Blanco, who was known as “The Godmother of Cocaine.” Upon its premiere, Variety reported that Griselda was the most-watched title on Netflix, hitting No. 1 in 89 countries. The biggest issue? Griselda Blanco’s sole heir, Michael, clearly wasn't a fan of the show's portrayal of his mother. On January 17, Michael and his wife, Marie, sued Netflix and the show’s leading actress, Sofía Vergara, claiming the streamer used their “image, likeness, and/or identity” without permission. Now, that lawsuit has been settled.

In the lawsuit, Michael alleged that he discussed his mother's history with producers from 2009 to 2022. The plan, he claims, was to develop a book and a show, but that never came to fruition. Michael also said he was interviewed by producers—and shared personal materials with them—but was ultimately shut out of the show’s development process. After learning about Griselda through the media, Michael alleged that Netflix used his ideas without credit or compensation and—according to Business Insider—requested at least $50,000 in damages.

Court documents obtained by The Hollywood Reporter show that Michael's complaints had been dismissed “with prejudice.” In other words, he won’t be able to refile elsewhere. Despite losing the case, Michael is still speaking about his dissatisfaction with the show. He recently appeared on the podcast The Real Griselda, hosted by filmmaker Billy Corben, who featured Griselda in the documentary Cocaine Cowboys.

While on the show, Michael said he felt “a rush of emotions” while watching Griselda. “It was very surreal," he continued. "I’m not going to lie to you; it was very emotional. There was a point where I found myself gasping for air. I found myself happy. I found myself sad.” Even though the series had bright moments, Michael wished he could’ve worked with Netflix to tell his mother's story. “I feel that the story, our story, my family’s story, the Blanco family’s universe, it’s so complex and so legendary, it should be shown respect when it comes to storytelling.”

Despite the fallout, Netflix’s team seems to be pleased with the show’s reception. When asked about the court filing, the show’s executive producer, Eric Newman (who is not listed in the lawsuit), seemingly brushed off Michael’s complaints. “The reality is that we’re a fictionalized account,” Newman said. “We’re not making a documentary; we’re not writing a book about Griselda [Blanco]. So, we’re not going to tell a story that’s going to make everybody happy or that people are going to say, ‘Oh, that’s exactly what happened.” In a separate interview with Entertainment Tonight, Newman likened Michael’s lawsuit to complaints from the Escobar family, who raised concerns about his other Netflix series, Narcos.

“It’s not my first rodeo,” Newman said. “We had a very specific story we wanted to tell. I believe we told it, and I don’t think it in any way prevents someone else from telling their own version of it.”

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