The real-life stripper who inspired Jennifer Lopez’s character in Hustlers has filed a $40 million (£30.5 million) lawsuit against bosses at the actress’s production firm for using her likeness without permission.
Samantha Barbash, who rejected an offer from film executives to sign off on the rights to her life story for the hit drama, claims the 50-year-old based the part of Ramona on her.
According to documents obtained by TMZ, the former adult entertainer goes on to accuse officials of defaming her, as Ramona is portrayed as “using and manufacturing illegal substances in her home where she lived with her child” – something Barbash insists never happened.
She is now suing bosses at Lopez’s Nuyorican Productions company, seeking $20 million (£15.25 million) for compensation, and another $20 million in punitive damages.
“Defendants did not take caution to protect the rights of Ms. Barbash by creating a fictionalised character, or by creating a composite of characters to render J.Lo’s character a new fictitious one; rather they engaged in a systematic effort to make it well-known that J.Lo was playing Ms. Barbash,” the lawsuit states.
Lopez isn’t named in the lawsuit, but she served as one of the producers of the project, which has earned her critical acclaim, including a Golden Globe nomination.
Representatives for Hustlers have yet to comment on the legal action.
The movie is based on a New York Magazine article that went viral in 2015, about a real-life group of exotic dancers who con their wealthy broker clients.
Back in September, Barbash told Vanity Fair she was not impressed with the film and disputed some of the events that were depicted.
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