news ‘Narcos’ Director Sues Production Partner, Alleging Millions Owed in Hidden Profits

There might be a real-life crime behind Netflix’s “Narcos.”

Director and producer José Padilha (“Robocop”) has officially sued production partner Eric Newman over allegations that Newman is hiding millions of dollars worth of profits from the critically acclaimed series. Padilha listed in the suit that Newman is concealing revenue from Gaumont Television, which violates their profit-sharing agreement.

Newman’s production company Spahn Ranch was supposed to be sharing reports and proceeds from “Narcos” with Padilha’s production company Cold Mountain. The contract states “each party receives an equal amount of Gross Proceeds at all times.” However, Padilha alleges Newman is hiding money because the contract is structured so the amount paid to Newman by Gaumont isn’t transparent.

“Despite having voluntarily accepted the trust reposed in him by Plaintiffs, and in violation of this relationship of trust, Newman (both individually and on behalf of Spahn Ranch) caused Narcos Revenues to be paid solely and directly to Defendants, without making Plaintiffs aware that these Narcos Revenues had been received by Defendants,” the complaint filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court read, via The Hollywood Reporter.

Padilha alleges Newman has been paid several millions in unreported revenue. The suit references an audit of Gaumont by Newman at an unspecified date that wasn’t accounted for in profits paid to Padilha.

“Given that they were partners, Plaintiffs relied on Defendants to be loyal, to not self-deal, to not take any action that would interfere with Plaintiffs’ right to receive their share of any and all revenues, income and proceeds from the exploitation of the Series, and to timely, accurately, and fully account for all revenues, income, and proceeds generated and expenses incurred from the exploitation of the Series,” the complaint reads.

Newman has since refused to turn over documents related to “Narcos” revenue, per the suit. THR reported an unnamed source revealing Padilha is in arbitration with Gaumont, which isn’t named as a defendant in this suit.

TV executive Katie O’Connell Marsh similarly sued Gaumont in 2018 for breach of contract, alleging she hasn’t seen any money from her share of gross receipts from “Narcos” in addition to Gaumont’s other shows, including “Hannibal,” Hemlock Grove” and “F Is for Family.” A trial is set to start in December.

“Narcos” previously starred Pedro Pascal and Diego Luna among its ensemble cast. French production company Gaumont is additionally behind “Lupin” and “Barbarians,” and recently inked an overall deal with Paramount+.