Netflix recently released the third season of its dramatic crime series Narcos, and its first episode features a sexy nightclub scene with same-sex dancing, kissing and violence.
In the scene, actor Alberto Ammann plays Hélmer “Pacho” Herrera, a Colombian drug lord who was a high-ranking member of the Cali Cartel, a real-life cartel active from 1977 to 1998. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency called the Cali Cartel “the most powerful crime syndicate in history.”
In the scene, Herrera dances with a man at a nightclub, holding him close and kissing him. Shortly afterwards, he hits another man over the head with a bottle.
Here’s the same-sex dancing and kissing scene from Narcos:
The real-life Herrera was “out, proud and oversaw the group’s most gruesome deaths,” according to William Rempel, author of the book At the Devil’s Table: The Untold Story of the Insider Who Brought Down the Cali Cartel.
Indeed, shortly after this scene, Herrera has a man tied to motorcycles and then torn limb from limb.
Discussing the scene, Ammann said, “When you saw the girls and guys watching the couple dancing and kissing, there’s so much in their looks. Nobody laughs or moves a hair because they know this guy is terrible and very violent and he’s doing this for respect and to shut up everyone.”
Ammann’s dance partner in the scene is actor Maurho Jimenez Mora. Ammann has played Herrera since the first season of Narcos, but since his role was more minor in past seasons, viewers didn’t see his sexuality until now.
Although Narcos’ gay character is a villain, Monica Trasandes, GLAAD’s director of Spanish language and Latinx media & representation, says that that’s okay as long as their gender and sexuality arises organically from their character.
She also says that LGBTQ Latinx viewers will increasingly go towards streaming services like Netflix as long as traditional broadcast networks exclude LGBTQ Latinx characters from their programming:
A lot of times, producers make assumptions about their viewers and the reality is that a lot more Latinos are coming out to their families. They’re basing their viewership or production decisions on a bit of a stereotype: That Latinx people don’t care about LGBT issues or that it’s not talked about. I think they’re going to start seeing a big change when LGBTQ Latinx people and their families go away from traditional broadcast and toward shows on Netflix and other platforms that are more inclusive.