The Netflix documentary series The Day I Met El Chapo: The Kate Del Castillo Story is currently available for streaming, but actor Sean Penn has been fighting the streaming service to make some big changes to the episodes as they are being presented now. Penn's lawyers claim the actor may face bodily harm if the three-episode series continues airing as is. And they demand that Netflix alter their content as it's currently being presented. The docu-series debuted on the streaming service today, now available without these changes that the actor's lawyers requested. The lawyers drafted a letter stating that Netflix is, "hereby on notice that blood will be on their hands if this film causes bodily harm."
The documentary series tells the biographical account of Mexican actress Kate del Castillo, and her meeting with one of the most wanted men in the world, drug lord Joaquín Guzmán Loera, a.k.a. El Chapo. The three-part series tells Kate's side of the story using never-before-seen footage and exclusive details of what led to the infamous meeting between one of the world's most notorious drug lords, a Hollywood star (Sean Penn) and one of Mexico's most famous television actresses.
Sean Penn ended up writing a now-infamous article for Rolling Stone, recounting his meeting with El Chapo and Kate del Castillo, which was published just one day after El Chapo was captured. Sean Penn did not participate in the Netflix documentary series, which is largely told from Kate del Castillo's perspective, but it reportedly implies that Sean Penn actually assisted the U.S. Department of Justice in their apprehension of El Chapo, which the actor's lawyers assert could lead to bodily harm for Sean Penn. Here's what Mark Fabiani, a spokesperson for Sean Penn, had to say in an email to Netflix.
"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. The notion that Mr. Penn or anyone on his behalf alerted D.O.J. 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."
David Broome, who produces the The Day I Met El Chapo series, responded by stating that none of the episodes prove that "Sean Penn is in cahoots with the D.O.J." Many were confused when the Sean Penn article in Rolling Stone was published, as to how an Oscar-winning actor and a beloved Mexican TV star could get an audience with El Chapo, who had escaped from prison twice. While Kate del Castillo is an international superstar, she isn't nearly as famous in the U.S., with this series getting started after the actress met with producer David Broome, whose previous credits include reality shows like The Biggest Loser and Netflix's Ultimate Beastmaster, about making a documentary series that told her point-of-view of the meeting with El Chapo.
Sean Penn had been approached to be a part of the series and declined, but the show's producers never received a response. Then in September, after Sean Penn had watched the series, he said he'd be interviewed and demanded that changes be made, with Sean Penn's lawyer, Theodore J. Boutrous Jr., sending a letter to Broome's production company, calling the series a, "reckless, misleading and self-serving" account," adding that it's "profoundly disappointing" that the streaming service chose to, "disregard the extreme danger they are knowingly creating." Here's what Netflix had to say in a 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."
As for the "bodily harm" that Sean Penn may or may not be in, this extensive report from The New York Times claims that Netflix's general counsel, David Hyman, wrote to another one of Sean Penn's lawyers, Mathew Rosengart, stating that, "to the extent that Mr. Penn may be in any physical danger, it is as result of his decision to meet with El Chapo in 2015." Regardless, the documentary series is available to watch on the Netflix streaming service right now.