Watch CBS News

Sofia Vergara and Netflix sued by family of Griselda Blanco ahead of miniseries about drug lord

Sofía Vergara on remaking herself as "Griselda"
Sofía Vergara on remaking herself as "Griselda" 07:38

Sofia Vergara and Netflix are being sued by the family of Griselda Blanco, the Colombian drug lord that Vergara portrays in an upcoming miniseries on the streaming network. Blanco's son, Michael Corleone Blanco, is one of the plaintiffs who filed the suit in a Miami-Dade County Court last week.

According to court documents obtained by Entertainment Tonight, the family says they did not authorize the use of their images and want to block the series from airing.

Blanco, who is listed as Michael Sepulvedablanco in the lawsuit, says since 2009, he has been giving interviews to people who are interested in developing productions about his mother's life. Dubbed the "Cocaine Godmother," Blanco ran a successful drug ring in Miami. She was killed in Colombia in 2012. 

Her son says Netflix expressed interest in his mother's story, but they did not consult his interviews to create "Griselda," the miniseries due out on Jan. 25. Blanco says they relied on anecdotes from others and did not properly compensate him for his mother's story.

While the family is fine with Griselda's likeness being used, they said that their likenesses were used in the production and they want to stop it from streaming. 

Sofia Vergara as Griselda and Alberto Ammann as Alberto Bravo in the Netflix series "Griselda." Netflix/Elizabeth Morris

Blanco was also portrayed by Catherine Zeta-Jones in a 2018 movie that aired on Lifetime in the U.S. 

Vergara, who executive produced the Netflix show, is one of seven defendants listed in the lawsuit, including Netflix and talent management company Latin World Entertainment Holdings, LLC. CBS News has reached out to Netflix and LWE for comment and is awaiting response. 

Blanco and his wife, Marie, are listed as plaintiffs in the suit. In September, Marie and attorney Elysa Galloway jointly posted the following statement on Instagram: "The Blanco family is in no way associated or connected to the promotional project 'Griselda' set to air on Netflix. Michael Corleone Blanco, nor any other member of the Blanco family have been consulted or have taken any part in the 'Griselda' project. All legal rights reserved." 

CBS News has reached out to Galloway and the attorney representing Blanco in the lawsuit for comment and is awaiting response. 

In December, Galloway posted that Blanco had trademarked the book title: "My Mother, the Godmother and the True Story of Michael Corleone Blanco." Blanco posted on Saturday that the book was available. 

In a recent interview with CBS News' Jonathan Vigliotti, Vergara explained what intrigued her about Blanco. "As a woman, I was fascinated. Like, how did she become even more ruthless, more horrific than any man," she said. 

Blanco first became involved in illegal drug trade as a desperate way to support her children and allegedly had hundreds of people killed during her time as a drug lord. 

Vergara, like Blanco, grew up in Colombia. The actress' brother was among the estimated quarter of a million people killed during Colombia's decadeslong drug war. "My brother was part of that business. I know what that kind of business can do to a family, to a person, to a country," she said.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.