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Sofia Vergara sued by Griselda Blanco’s family

Sofia Vergara is being sued by the estate of former Colombian drug lord Griselda Blanco over the new Netflix limited series “Griselda.” The 51-year-old actor, along with Netflix and others involved in the project, are named as co-defendants in the lawsuit, which was filed on Jan. 17 in Florida’s Miami-Dade County and obtained by NBC News. Vergara plays Griselda Blanco in “Griselda” and also serves as an executive producer on the series.

Griselda Blanco’s son, Michael Corleone Blanco, identified as Michael Sepulvedablanco in the lawsuit documents, and his wife, Marie, are seeking damages “over $50,000,” as well as an emergency temporary injunction to block the Jan. 25 release of “Griselda,” arguing that the series and its promotional materials use the unauthorized “image, likeness and/or identity” of family members.

The pair also allege in their complaint that the series relied on recorded conversations the show’s producers had with Michael Corleone Blanco, who was not compensated for their use. TODAY.com reached out to reps for Vergara and Netflix for comment and did not hear back.

Netflix describes “Griselda,” which features Vergara in the title role, as a “fictional dramatization” of the life of Griselda Blanco, a former Colombian drug lord who was one of the first to engage in large-scale smuggling of cocaine into the United States from Colombia. Blanco is credited with organizing many of the routes used by the Medellin drug cartel. Her prominence in Miami’s narcotics underground beginning in the 1970s earned her the nickname the “Godmother of Cocaine.”

“Griselda” was directed by Andrés Baiz and also stars Alberto Guerra, Christian Tappan, and Juliana Aidén Martinez. Vergara, who was born in Barranquilla, Colombia, opened up about her interest in Blanco’s life story when she appeared on Jan. 17 on “The Tonight Show.”

“I grew up during that time. I know that business,” Vergara told host Jimmy Fallon. “My brother was part of that business. He was killed in the ‘90s. I was very, like, I know this character. I think I can do it.”

“One of the reasons why she was able to get away with so much was actually because she was a woman, and they were never thinking that a woman was capable of doing all the horrific things that she did,” she added.

The former “Modern Family” star also noted that Blanco raised four children while she was the head of one of the world’s most notorious drug cartels.

Vergara, Netflix, and others involved in the limited series are being sued by Griselda Blanco’s son, Michael Corleone Blanco, and his wife, Marie, who are seeking damages “more than $50,000,” as well as an emergency temporary injunction to block the series’ Jan. 25 premiere.

They argue that “Griselda” and its promotional materials use the unauthorized “image, likeness and/or identity” of certain family members, with documents specifically naming Michael Corleone Blanco and his wife. The injunction also says the six-episode series relies on the producers’ previously recorded interviews with Michael Corleone Blanco, even though he was not compensated for their use.

The injunction alleges that Michael Corleone Blanco had plans to use the recordings, which were made between 2009 and 2022, for a project of his own. The Blanco family said in a statement that Michael Blanco has “conducted numerous interviews and TV shows to tell his story.”

“Michael Blanco was more than willing to share his hard work and the nonpublic details of his mother’s life with Latin World Entertainment/Netflix if he was to be fairly compensated,” the statement read, in part. “Make no mistake, Michael Blanco is humble and thrilled every time someone reaches out to shine a light on his mother and the Blanco family. However, in the case of Netflix/Latin World Entertainment, the Defendants approached Michael Blanco to gain his work, perspective, and insight to only turn around and act like he does not exist, in an apparent attempt to reap their profits.”

Griselda Blanco was arrested in New York in 1985. She spent nearly 20 years in prison for drug trafficking and three murders before being deported to Colombia in 2004. She was shot and killed by an assassin on a motorcycle on September 3, 2012, in Medellin.

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