Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX)’s crime thriller Narcos has been so popular that the streaming giant is airing the second season next month. Narcos, which potrays the life of former Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar, has made one powerful enemy: Roberto Escobar. Roberto, who was the accountant for his brother’s drug gang, is demanding $1 billion from the streaming giant for the rights to his family’s story.
A letter to Netflix
He not only ran the books for the multi-billion-dollar Medellin Cartel drug operation but was also in charge of its assassination squad as well. Recently in a letter to the video streaming giant which was published by TMZ, Escobar wrote that he wants to review the second season of the hit show and be compensated fairly from any profits.
“In the first season of Narcos, there were mistakes, lies and discrepancies from the real story,” the letter says. “To this date, I am one of the few survivors of the Medellin cartel, and I was Pablo’s closest ally, managing his accounting and he is my brother for life. I think nobody else in the world is alive to determine the validity of the materials, but me.”
Escobar also wrote that he owns “successor-in-interest rights” to the Escobar family name.
What could have annoyed Roberto?
What really could have upset Escobar is that in the first season of the Narcos series, the cartel’s accountant got fired and then claims to be a CIA informant. Also the cartel’s accountant is not portrayed as being Pablo Escobar’s brother, says Fortune. In the show, Roberto Escobar’s character never really appears.
Pablo Escobar was shot and killed by Colombian police in 1993. He was once known as “The King of Cocaine.” In 2009, Roberto, who was imprisoned for his role in the drug cartel, wrote a book called The Accountant’s Story.
Could file a lawsuit
Roberto Escobar tried to contact Netflix after it registered the rights to the Escobar name and before the show was released, Olof Gustafsson, CEO of a company Roberto Escobar formed called Escobar Inc., told Newsweek. At that time, they got no response from the streaming giant. Gustafsson said it is essential that they recognize Roberto Escobar’s wishes to review the show Netflix is putting out and ensure an accurate portrayal of Pablo and Roberto.
If necessary, Escobar will launch a legal claim against the video streaming giant and demand compensation as high as $1 billion, said Roberto in emails to Newsweek.
“They are playing me without paying. I am not a monkey in a circus, I don’t work for pennies,” said Roberto.