Pablo Escobar’s brother pours fuel on the flamethrower feud with Elon Musk

The Not a Flamethrower
Dan Baker/Digital Trends

Remember Elon Musk’s “Not a Flamethrower” from last year? Pablo Escobar’s brother Roberto recently launched his own eerily similar product, a device he said looks almost identical because Musk stole the idea from him and then beat him to market.

He told Digital Trends that he expects Musk to pay him $100 million for the idea or else he’ll take Musk to court. 

Escobar, brother and former accountant of the infamous drug lord, told us that he made a deal with the Tesla and SpaceX CEO to launch the device under the Tesla umbrella. In exchange, Escobar said Musk was supposed to pay him 20% of the profits.

“Then he changed the name to ‘Not a Flamethrower’ to avoid any type of deal we had,” Escobar, who is also the founder of Escobar Inc., said. Last February, Musk said he changed the name because many customs agencies would not allow him to ship anything labeled “flamethrower.”

Escobar didn’t provide us with any proof of the deal, but if Musk doesn’t pay up, he’s prepared to take the issue to the courts.

“That 20% is now worth about $2 million,” Escobar said. “However due to his slander, and due to his non-payment, we are requesting $100 million.”

“I do not mind [becoming] the new CEO of Tesla if we win a judgment in the courts,” said Escobar. “I am sure that I could run Tesla into profits.”

According to him, Tesla engineers visited in mid-2017 where they discussed a toy flamethrower that could be used to “burn money.” Nothing came of that particular conversation; however, in early 2018 Musk launched “Not a Flamethrower” through The Boring Company, which angered Escobar.

Now he wants Musk to give him $100 million in cash or Tesla stock for the alleged theft of international property.

For some perspective: Musk only made 20,000 flamethrowers, which at $500 a pop means he only made about $10 million on the device, minus the cost of actually making the product. That’s a bit less than the $100 million Escobar is asking for.

Escobar Inc’s flamethrower has an exceptionally similar design to Musk’s and also retails for $500, although it’s on sale now for the low price of $250.

For what it’s worth, Digital Trends reviewed The Boring Company’s flamethrower in September. It wasn’t a bad way to cook your food.

“It is very clear that Mr. Musk has done wrong here, we are assuming that he will settle with us at any moment now. Our flamethrower is a far superior product as evidenced by videos that are now going viral, his is simply not cutting it,” Daniel Reitberg, COO of Escobar Inc., told Digital Trends. “That is what happens when you try to copy someone. It looks good, but the functionality is just not there. Some people may think that is small, but imagine what else Mr. Musk may be doing behind the whole world’s back?”

Escobar added that thing Musk isn’t doing is running Tesla well — and he has some business insights to share from Colombia.

“Nobody is using Tesla here,” Escobar said.

The Not a Flamethrower
Dan Baker/Digital Trends

“I heard some people in Mexico use it to transport drugs with autopilot,” he added, though he didn’t provide any evidence.

As for what Musk should do about it, “I think Elon needs to clear all of his business issues and take Tesla and his life more seriously,” said Escobar. “But start with sending me $100 million.” 

This isn’t the first time Escobar has demanded cash from a major tech company: he demanded one billion dollars from Netflix over the show Narcos, which he claimed was somehow inspired by his brother’s life. He eventually gave up that quest in January 2018.

We’ve reached out to The Boring Company for comment, but they’ve yet to respond. However, earlier today Musk issued his own comment of sorts via Twitter: “It’s Not a Flamethrower, Mr. Escobar.”

Regardless, Escobar said he expects to receive his $100 million.

“We are not going to settle for anything less than that,” he said. “We will take shares. Tesla Inc shares are OK.”

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