At the height of his drug empire, Pablo Escobar was estimated to be supplying 80% of the cocaine making its way into the United States. He was believed to be the wealthiest criminal in history with a net worth somewhere between $25 to $30 BILLION ($48.5-$58 billion in today’s dollars).
By anyone who has studied his story, Pablo Escobar is remembered for what he really was: a murderous psychopath who made billions in the illegal drug trade while murdering anyone who got in his way. In the 15 years of Pablo Escobar’s rule over Medellin, there were an estimated 6,349 murders. 5,000 people were murdered between 1989 and 1993.
But there’s an eery fascination with Pablo Escobar that’s endured for decades. Case in point, the Netflix series Narcos that’s been viewed over 60 million times. People just can’t seem to get enough of the Pablo Escobar story, and that’s blown up in the face of a restaurant in Australia that’s serving Pablo Escoburgers.
The Pablo Escoburger is a cheeseburger served with a line of white powder, a baggy of white powder, and a coke spoon inside of the bag. It also comes with a fake $100 bill which can presumably be used to snort that fake cocaine and live out the drug lord dream.
As you can imagine, there are LOTS of people who are bothered by this. And it’s not just people whose relatives were murdered by Pablo Escobar, or whose lives fell apart from becoming addicted to his drugs. Most of the outrage I’ve seen is coming from articles claiming people are outraged. They’ve pulled Facebook comments from people pissed over this pop-up restaurant but if you scroll through the Instagram photos it seems like people are having fun with the concept.
Facebook comments include things like “You’re idiots! To say this is in REALLY poor taste is an understatement!”…”Wouldn’t walk through your doors no matter how good your bloody burgers are. Pathetic!”…”How far would a burger joint called anzacs gallipoli burgers featuring mustard gas go in Australia?”
The restaurant has come out with a pretty weak defense: “We do not condone, idolise or promote Pablo Emilio Escobar or his actions in anyway.”
You’re certainly promoting Pablo Escobar by launching a Pablo Escobar themed restaurant that serves burgers accompanied by garlic powder that’s meant to look like cocaine. So that’s just a straight up lie.
They do go on to say that they’re Australian, they love a good play on words, and it’s hard not to offend people in 2019. So they’re kind of brushing off the blowback as ‘we DGAF because we think it’s funny’.
It’s pretty plain to see that they are in fact promoting Pablo Escobar if you look at the ad for their restaurant. I’m sure they didn’t fully think this through at the time. I imagine it went something like ‘that’s a funny name, we should do that!’ without stopping to think about the bloddy legacy of Pablo. But maybe I’m giving them too much credit here.