Not everyone was a fan of Jennifer Lopez‘s performance in Hustlers. Samantha Barbash, one of the real women who inspired the film, is suing the star’s production company, claiming the movie’s portrayal was defamatory. The real-life Ramona, who claims she refused to give her consent to have her story featured in the flick, insisted in a lawsuit filed Tuesday, January 7, that the production team decided to “exploit [her] likeness and character” regardless.
According to documents obtained by In Touch, Barbash is naming STX Financing, Gloria Sanchez Productions, Pole Sisters and J. Lo’s Nuyorican Productions in her suit. “The film depicts Ms. Barbash, played by Jennifer Lopez, … as the ringleader of a group of adult dancers who drugged their patrons and stole exuberant amounts of money from them while in their incapacitated state,” the paperwork states. “Defendants utilized the likeness and character of Plaintiff in the film and in the marketing thereof through calculated efforts to ensure the public knew that the character played by J. Lo was, in fact, Ms. Barbash.”
Though the film changed the character’s name, the suit insists that it didn’t do enough to fictionalize “Ramona.” In addition to not “creating a composite of characters to render J. Lo’s character [into] a new, fictitious one,” the documents cite a marketing campaign that was “deliberately discussing the real-life events that transpired, the city where the acts took place, the exact place of Ms. Barbash’s employment, her plea information, legal proceedings and other information that made Ms. Barbash’s identity instantly connected to the film … for their own commercial gain.”
Reminding the court that “Ms. Barbash has not given her consent to, or in any way authorized, the use of her image, likeness and/or characterization in the film,” the suit accuses Jennifer, 50, and her fellow defendants of “negligent or intentional exploitation,” adding they “violated” her privacy rights. “Defendants have acted knowingly, willfully, recklessly and in bad faith,” it continues, alleging that the film and its promotional campaign lead to her being contacted by “not only media companies,” but also by people she knew and others in the community. Barbash also accuses the film of being “libelous per se” by “portraying her character as using and manufacturing illegal substances in her home where she lived with her child” and as “an individual of little to no moral or ethical values, devoid of any loyalty to her colleagues, under the influence of hard drugs and with misandrist tendencies.”
Asking for “no … less than $20,000,000” for a first and second cause of action, “the use by Defendants of Plaintiff’s personality for advertising purposes and for purposes of trade and commercial benefits,” and another $20,000,000 minimum for a third cause of action, defamation, as well as costs and attorney’s fees, she’s requesting a trial by jury.
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