The ex-stripper who is the inspiration behind Jennifer Lopez’s character Ramona in Hustlers is suing the actor and the film’s producers for $40 million.
Samantha Barbash has filed a federal lawsuit against Lopez’s production company Nuyorican Productions, STX Entertainment, Gloria Sanchez Productions and Pole Sisters LLC.
Barbash claims the companies tried to “exploit” her likeness and character in the movie, according to court documents.
Barbash also claims the film’s producers attempted to “obtain a consent and waiver from Ms. Barbash for the production of the film and their ultimate portrayal” of her.
Barbash’s lawsuit alleges the movie defames her by portraying Lopez’s character “using and manufacturing illegal substances in her home where she lived with her child.” She says those claims and portrayals of her likeliness were “untrue and offensive.”
She is seeking $20 million in compensatory damages and $20 million in punitive damages.
A rep for Lopez declined to comment to People on the matter.
On Tuesday, STXfilms spokesman Steve Elzer told the L.A. Times: “While we have not yet seen the complaint, we will continue to defend our right to tell factually based stories based on the public record.”
Hustlers is based on a 2015 New York Magazine article titled “The Hustlers at Scores,” which details real-life events from Barbash’s time as a stripper at Score’s Gentlemen’s Club in New York.
In September, Barbash said she “wasn’t that impressed” with Hustlers in an interview with Vanity Fair.
“Everyone has been asking, ‘Did I see the movie?’ So I thought, ‘Why don’t I just see the movie’ because I knew I was going to have a lot of interviews about it this week,” she said.
She said Lopez’s character “had my birthmark that I have.”
“I used to have a piercing on the top of my lip. She had it on the bottom,” Barbash said. “She had a tattoo on her finger. I had it on my wrist.”
When asked about the mannerisms of Lopez’s character, Barbash said that she is “nothing like that in person.”
Barbash said that when she first heard the film was coming out, her business partner said she wished “Cardi [B] would have played me.”
“Even though she is not an actress, she was in the strip club world and she gets it. She would have maybe played a better me. Not taking away from Jennifer. But just because Cardi was in the business,” Barbash said.
Barbash posted an article from The Shade Room on Instagram on Tuesday with the headline: “Woman who inspired Hustlers is reportedly suing Jennifer Lopez and her production company for $40 million.”
“Thanks @TheShadeRoom and yes it’s true I am suing for all who are inquiring,” she captioned the post. “Wait til you see my TV interviews for all my answers.”
She also posted a photo of Lopez and Diddy together and wrote: “Let’s not forget who made jlo relevant @diddy without him she was a nobody.”
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