Jennifer Lopez’s production company is being sued over its portrayal of a character in the true to life movie Hustler.
Samatha Barbash, who was the inspiration behind Lopez’s character Ramona is suing Nuyorican Productions for $40 million. Barbash is unhappy with how the character was represented.
The movie was adapted from a 2015 New York Times Magazine article, which featured real-life Barbash. The film loosely follows the true story of a group of New York strippers who stole from wealthy male clients around the time of the 2008 financial crisis. They conned, teased, and drugged men out of thousands of dollars.
They allegedly only targeted the most unpleasant of characters, and they were guys who generally wouldn’t miss the money the following morning.
Barbash is arguing that she never gave permission for the production company to use her likeness or story. She had previously complained to TMZ that Lopez had never approached her to consult on how to play the Ramona character.
Barbash argues that a scene where Lopez’s Ramona character is “using and manufacturing illegal substances in her home where she lived with her child” was offensive and defamatory.
Barbash wants $20 million in compensation and a further $20 million in punitive damages. She also wants the company to turn over every copy of the movie, which made $157 million worldwide.
She claims that last year, a movie producer tried to get her to sign her rights away after they “lowballed” her with a derisory offer.
Jennifer Lopez is not being sued personally, just her company Nuyorican Productions.
The movie was written and directed by Lorene Scafaria and was released in September 2019. As well as Lopez, the film also starred Constance Wu, Julia Stiles, and Cardi B.
Lopez told the L.A. Times last year that the strippers in the story were simply women who wanted to have control over their own destinies.