'Hustlers'-inspired stripper sues filmmakers for $40M

Jennifer Lopez’s Nuyorican Productions was named in the $40M suit

The woman who inspired Jennifer Lopez’s role in 2019 movie “Hustlers” is suing the star’s production company for $40 million claiming it tarnished her name and stole her image without permission, court papers show.

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Samantha Barbash slapped Lopez’s Nuyorican Productions and several others with the suit on Tuesday in federal court in New York claiming they “exploited” her image and character for the movie.

A scene from the movie "Hustlers." (STX Films)

“The film is described as inspired by a true story based on the New York magazine’s 2015 article ‘The Hustlers at Scores’ by Jessica Pressler, which in turn is based on the real life events of Ms. Barbash,” the court papers state. It “depicts Ms. Barbash, played by Jennifer Lopez (JLO), as the ringleader of a group of adult dancers who drugged their patrons and stole exuberant [sic] amounts of money from them while in their incapacitated state.”

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Lopez, who played "Ramona" in the movie, is not specifically named as a defendant in the case. Nuyorican could not be reached at the time of publication.

But Barbash refused filmmakers’ attempts for her to waive her privacy rights and chose not to give them permission to portray her, according to the lawsuit.

Bruno Gioffre, Barbash's attorney, said in a message to FOX Business his client "is deeply offended that the defendants named in the lawsuit used Ms. Barbash's likeness without her permission to make over $150 million, defamed has character in the process and tried to trick her into giving her rights for a mere $6,000."

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TMZ previously reported Barbash knocking their low payment offer and said Lopez “betrayed” her and never personally contacted her in preparation for the movie portrayal.

“They pretty much basically stole my story. I wouldn’t sign my rights away,” she told TMZ. “J Lo doesn’t work for free. Why would I? I’m a businesswoman… I have Hermes bags that cost more than they wanted to give me.”

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Barbash, who worked as an adult entertainment host at Scores, a Manhattan gentleman's club, was reportedly one of four strippers arrested in 2014 charged with conspiracy, assault, forgery and grand larceny in connection to the alleged scheme against wealthy businessmen, the New York Post reported.

She had previously indicated she planned to take legal action against the film, according to a different TMZ report.

A scene from "Hustlers" (Barbara Nitke/STXfilms via AP) ("Hustlers" Movie/STX Films)

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In the suit, she slammed filmmakers for scenes that defamed her image, with “reckless disregard” for the truth, including one in which Lopez is seen using and cooking “illegal substances” in her home, which she shared with her child, the lawsuit states.

“Anyone who views the film or any of its promotional material will believe [Barbash] to be 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.”

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"Hustlers" brought in more than $33 million in its opening weekend.