A Chilean entrepreneur has been threatened with legal action from the Hollywood team of actor Mel Gibson for her honey brand with his face on it and the name Miel (honey in Spanish) Gibson.
According to the national newspaper Publimetro, the 40-year-old Chilean mother of four, Yohanna Agurto, started her honey business at the end of June after losing her job due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Yohanna decided to design her honey brand with the face of William Wallace from the popular Mel Gibson film Braveheart and used the play on words ‘Miel Gibson’.
The entrepreneur wrote on her Twitter account: “I used the name because I thought it was quirky, I did not think it was going to cause so much harm.”
Yohanna shared a picture of the email she received from the Leigh Brecheen law firm, of the Hollywood star Mel Gibson on Wednesday.
According to Yohanna, her brand came to the attention of the law firm when various netizens tagged the actor and his lawyers on her Twitter.
The honey brand shared a post on Twitter saying: “I have received threats from Mel’s lawyers … all because there was a group of a*seholes who @ him & his lawyers.
“Now who is going to help me pay the fines? Are you going to support my children? Are you going to get me out of this problem? I need help!”
The email received by the entrepreneur, reported by local newspaper BioBioChile, states that the entrepreneur is “illegally using Mr. Gibson’s name and/or likeness” to sell honey and that the actor has not authorised such use, which “further constitutes a fraud upon any receipts of the attachment.”
It goes on to say that “your use of Mr Gibson’s name, likeness and biography infringes upon and violates Mr. Gibson’s well-established statutory rights of publicity and privacy.”
The letter ends telling the businesswoman that she has until 14th August (today) to remove his name and image.
Yohanna told Publimetro Chile: “I translated it and they are accusing me of fraud, and I am warned that if on Friday the name and the pics are not removed, they will sue me.
“I am scared because I am alone with my four children, I am the person in charge of my home, so if something happens to me with this…”
The case has caused a furore on social media, where a lot of netizens have posted supporting comments.
Local TV host Leo Caprile, tweeted: “Dear Honey: A few years ago, this man named his store in Nancagua with my name. Lawyers offered to sue him, but why make life difficult for a worker. You have to be generous. Hopefully, Mel will let it go, surely it’s just a matter of gold hunting lawyers.”
According to Publimetro, Yohanna says she is thinking carefully about her next steps and that expert lawyers in trademark registration have offered her advice.
She said: “I need to empty the ideas and wait if the fine really becomes effective.”
Yohanna has for now removed the pictures of the honey with the figure of William Wallace in Braveheart from the company’s social media profiles.
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