A pun on the Spanish word for “honey” and the name of one of the world’s most famous actors has landed a small-scale Chilean vendor in trouble.
- The honey, ‘Miel Gibson’, is a play on words using the Spanish word for honey
- The actor’s lawyers are threating legal action unless the image is removed
- They say they want to protect the use of his image, not ban the honey’s name
Yohanna Agurto used an image of Mel Gibson from the 1995 movie Braveheart to promote her honey, “Miel Gibson”, along with the slogan “only for the brave”.
This week, she received a letter from the actor’s lawyers that said her use of his name and likeness violated Mr Gibson’s rights.
Mr Gibson’s lawyer threatened legal action if Ms Agurto did not withdraw the product immediately.
The letter was signed by an assistant to Leigh Brecheen, a California-based lawyer.
Ms Breechen told Reuters the letter was aimed at preventing the use of Mr Gibson’s image, not banning the honey’s name.
“None of this is meant to prevent anyone from earning an income or creating a business, but there are proper channels to contact and clearances you need to go through to make sure you have the approval for such usage.”
Ms Agurto told Reuters from her home in the capital Santiago she was so frightened on receiving the letter that she deleted her work email account.
She had only started repacking and selling the southern Chilean product in June after the spread of the coronavirus caused widespread unemployment, she said, adding she only earned enough to support her family.
After she shared the letter with Chilean media, she said, her following on social media grew “exponentially”.
On Thursday (local time), she addressed an appeal directly to the actor on Twitter: “Dear #MelGibson, would you let us use your image on our honey please? Mis kids and me we would be infinitely grateful. Our honey is only for brave hearts.”
Gibson’s spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.