Just when you thought 2016 couldn’t crush your hopes any further, an upcoming TV series based on Selena’s relationship with husband Chris Perez now finds itself with an uncertain future after Selena’s father, Abraham Quintanilla Jr., slapped the production with a lawsuit.
According to Quintanilla’s petition, the best-selling memoir on which the series is based – Perez’s 2012 To Selena, With Love – was published in violation of a legal document called an Estate Properties Agreement, which Perez signed just two months after the singer’s tragic death. The Agreement stipulated that Perez would be guaranteed “25% of net profits derived from the exploitation of the Entertainment Properties,” which include books, plays, videos, films, and TV movies, with the understanding that Quintanilla was the exclusive rights holder.
In other words, Selena’s father is the only person legally allowed to use Selena’s name and image for entertainment purposes, and he never signed off on the series currently in development by Endemol Shine North America. Obviously it’s always a sticky situation when the legacy of a dead family member starts mixing with business deals, legal documents, and net profits; but over the years, papa Quintanilla has struck a delicate balance between protecting Selena’s memory, and commercializing her image for legions of dedicated fans.
For its part, Endemol Shine has released no official statement regarding the lawsuit, but Forbes reports the company responded with a full denial to the claims – meaning they will be pressing forward with the project while the lawsuit works its way through the legal system. Whatever the outcome, I think we can all agree that what’s most important is respecting the life and legacy of one of US pop’s most enduring cultural icons.