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Jennifer Lopez' 'Hustlers' Character Invites Defamation Lawsuit

Samantha Barbash on Tuesday sued STX, Gloria Sanchez productions and JLo's Nuyorican Productions. The film is based on a 2015 New York Magazine article by Jessica Pressler titled "The Hustlers at Scores" that's based on Barbash's experience working in gentlemen's clubs.

2020-01-08T19:02:00Z

Courtesy : SheKnows

Just when it felt like when everything was going well with Jennifer Lopez' best acting performance to date in the form of Hustlers - an unexpected controversy has emerged.

Lopez played Ramona, a stripper in the movie and the real-life Ramona, on whom the character is based - is seemingly not too happy and is suing the makers for defamation. Samantha Barbash on Tuesday sued STX, Gloria Sanchez productions and JLo's Nuyorican Productions. The film is based on a 2015 New York Magazine article by Jessica Pressler titled "The Hustlers at Scores" that's based on Barbash's experience working in gentlemen's clubs.

The film tells the story of Ramona and her colleagues' charming Wall Street types and then drugging them and racking up thousands on their credit cards at the clubs in exchange for a cut of the money. In 2017, she pleads guilty to conspiracy, assault and grand larceny and was sentenced to five years probation.

Barbash says the filmmakers exploited her likeness without permission and defamed her. She argues the film included enough factually accurate details to identify Ramona as Barbash, but were "grossly irresponsible" with fictionalizing parts of the film. She specifically takes issue with scenes "portraying her character as using and manufacturing illegal substances in her home where she lived with her child."

She says the depiction is libelous per se because it involves the commission of a crime and would be offensive to any common person, therefore, injures her reputation personally and in her business as a beauty salon owner. 

Barbash is seeking at least $40 million in damages and is asking the court for an in junction banning the distribution of the film and ordering defendants to give Barash all copies of the material.

An STX spokesman on Wednesday sent The Hollywood Reporter a statement in response to the suit: "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."

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