Jennifer Lopez’s production company has been sued by the real-life stripper who inspired her character Ramona in Hustlers.
Samatha Barbash filed a lawsuit Tuesday against Lopez’s Nuyorican Productions, film studio STX and others, TheWrap reported.
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Barbash claims she was approached about giving permission for her life rights to the filmmakers, but she declined. Despite the rejection, the movie moved forward with Lopez playing a character based on her.
“Defendants attempted to obtain a consent and waiver from Ms. Barbash for the production of the film and their ultimate portrayal of the plaintiff therein. However, Ms. Barbash refused to give her consent,” the lawsuit states. “Nonetheless with blatant disregard for their lack of authority and/or consent, defendants proceeded to exploit Ms. Barbash’s likeness and character for the film and the promotion thereof.”
In real-life, Barbash worked as a hostess at Scores gentlemen’s club in New York, and received five years of probation after pleading guilty to conspiracy, assault and grand larceny.
The film from writer-director Lorene Scafaria, is inspired by a New York Magazine article about a group of former strip club workers who turn the tables on their Wall Street clients.
STX produced the film, along with Lopez, Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas, Benny Medina, Will Ferrell and Adam McKay.
In April 2019, Barbash threatened to sue the filmmakers over the movie. She is now seeking $40 million in damages.
Lopez was nominated for a Golden Globe for her performance and recently picked up an award from the Palm Springs International Film Festival.