Sofía Vergara transformed herself for the role of Griselda Blanco
Sofía Vergara as Griselda Latin Times/Netflix

Netflix show "Griselda," based on the life of Colombian drug trafficker Griselda Blanco, has been a hit in many places around the world. But it has also sparked controversy elsewhere, most significantly in her home country, Colombia.

Despite its status as the top English-language show in Colombia and globally, some locals in Bogotá expressed concerns about the portrayal of a bygone era of violence and drugs, fearing the show perpetuates stereotypes of Colombians as criminals exporting turmoil, the Washington Post reported on Wednesday.

While billboards for "Griselda" adorn Bogotá, there is a chilly reception among those who feel it glorifies a problematic history, the outlet added. Critics argue that the series, focused on Blanco's rise in 1970s Miami, may reinforce negative perceptions Colombians have worked hard to change.

The show's deviation from the approach taken by "Narcos," which vilified Pablo Escobar and emphasized American drug enforcement agents as heroes, is clear. "Griselda" portrays Blanco as an underdog, a woman from Medellín fighting in a male-dominated industry, something that has elicited mixed reactions among Colombians, the article argues.

Karol G makes her Netflix debut, embodying Carla.
Karol G makes her Netflix debut, embodying the character of Carla. Netflix

Despite its success, the series has also faced criticism for its lack of input from Blanco's family. Her son, Michael Corleone, filed a lawsuit in Florida, alleging unauthorized use of his mother's likeness and identity.

Corleone even tried to prevent the show from airing, accusing the show's creators of using his unreleased "artistic literary work" and likeness to "to depict the life story of himself and his mother, Griselda Blanco De Trujillo" without permission or credit.

Blanco's laywer, Elysa Galloway, told USA Today that the show's creators approached Michael Blanco to gain insight and perspective "to only turn around and act like he does not exist, in an apparent attempt to reap their own profits."

Diego Cortes, an assistant professor of media studies, told the Washington Post that the series perpetuated stereotypes of Colombians, stating that the narrative has been seen numerous times before.

While Colombian actors take center stage in "Griselda," Cortes notes that the success of a few comes at the expense of reinforcing tired clichés. However, he acknowledges that the show sheds light on Americans' role in the drug trafficking industry, illustrating how Blanco targeted affluent, White Americans as cocaine customers.

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