According to the New York Times, Penn’s lawyers have sent a letter to Netflix warning that the documentary, which becomes available to stream on Oct. 20, could put their client in danger. Theodore J. Boutrous Jr., representing Penn, tells the streaming giant that “blood will be on their hands if this film causes bodily harm.”
The documentary at the centre of the controversy, The Day I Met El Chapo: The Kate del Castillo Story, revolves around a strange meeting that occurred in October 2015 between Penn, Mexican actress Ms. del Castillo, and one of the world’s most wanted men, El Chapo, whose real name is Joaquín Guzmán Loera.
Penn would later write an article for Rolling Stone magazine detailing the bizarre get-together. The piece was published just a day after El Chapo was captured by authorities.
The reason Penn is so upset, according to the letter seen by the New York Times, is that he believes the documentary implies he had a hand in helping the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) in their apprehension of the infamous drug lord.
WATCH BELOW: Sean Penn talks about his El Chapo interview
Penn’s lawyer demanded that Netflix make changes to the content of the documentary, which focuses primarily on Ms. del Castillo’s account of the event. Penn himself did not partake in the making of the series. As of the day of release, the documentary has not been changed.
“It is reprehensible that, in their ongoing, relentless efforts to gain additional attention and publicity, Ms del Castillo and her team (who have zero firsthand knowledge) have sought to create this profoundly false, foolish and reckless narrative,” Penn’s spokesperson, Mark Fabiani, told the publication.
“The notion that Mr. Penn or anyone on his behalf alerted DoJ to the trip is a complete fabrication and baldfaced lie. It never happened, nor would there have been any reason for it to have happened.”
Netflix said in a later statement: “Penn was given the opportunity on multiple occasions to participate in The Day I Met El Chapo and did not do so. The events surrounding the now-infamous meeting have been well covered, including by Penn himself in Rolling Stone and his many public comments since. The only new ground we’re breaking with this series is to give Kate a chance to finally tell her side of this stranger-than-fiction story.”