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Desperate Mom Sold Honey. Then Came Mel Gibson's Lawyer

Mel Gibson's attorney contacts unemployed Chilean woman for selling 'Miel Gibson' product
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 19, 2020 8:51 AM CDT
Updated Aug 23, 2020 3:00 PM CDT

(Newser) – Trying to make ends meet while in coronavirus quarantine has been a struggle for millions around the world, including in Chile, which has had one of the most rigid lockdowns. Yohana Agurto, a Chilean single mom of four who hasn't been teaching during the pandemic, was desperate to bring in some money to pay the bills, and after brainstorming, she realized she could sell the organic honey she had stockpiled in her pantry. She even came up with a creative name for it in honor of a big celebrity: Miel Gibson ("miel" is the Spanish word for honey), sold in glass jars with glued-on labels with a scene from Mel Gibson's movie Braveheart. Per the New York Times, Agurto soon had a steady flow of income from the honey, which she promoted online and through word-of-mouth. "My motivation was not to profit by using the image of a famous person," she says. "I was selling honey to survive."

Then, an email changed everything: A Los Angeles attorney representing the real Gibson told Agurto to "cease and desist" capitalizing off of Gibson's name and likeness. "I realized I was up against Goliath," Agurto tells the Times. But she knew she had to keep her household going, so she decided instead to take her story to the media. Now, after plenty of coverage about her plight, the honey orders are coming in so quickly she can't keep up. Her lawyer, who notes she's trying to contact Gibson's legal team to negotiate, says Agurto wants to keep the Miel Gibson name, though she'll drop the actor's image from the jars. Meanwhile, via a statement, a Gibson attorney insists no one's trying to deprive Agurto of making a living, "but there are proper channels to contact and clearances you need to go through." (Read more Mel Gibson stories.)

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