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 a sticky situation.
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 purportedly from the actor's lawyers saying her use of his name and likeness violated Gibson's rights, and threatening legal action if she did not withdraw the product immediately.
The letter was signed by an assistant to Leigh Brecheen, a California-based lawyer. Neither a spokesman for Brecheen's law firm in Beverly Hills, nor Gibson's spokesman, immediately responded to requests for comment.
Agurto told Reuters from her home in the capital Santiago she was so frightened on receiving the letter on Wednesday that she deleted her work email account.
She had only started repacking and selling the southern Chilean product in June after the spread of COVID-19 caused widespread unemployment, she said, adding she only earned enough to support her family.
"This arose out of necessity. I was left without work due to the pandemic," Agurto said.
After she shared the letter with Chilean media, she said, her following on social media grew "exponentially."
On Thursday, 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."
(Reporting by Aislinn Laing; Editing by Daniel Wallis)