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Jennifer Lopez may have earned a SAG and Golden Globe nomination for her role in Hustlers, but one person who wasn’t a fan was Samantha Barbash. Lopez’s Hustlers character Ramona was based on Barbash, who along with Rosie Keo was the focus of Jessica Pressler’s 2015 New York Magazine article “The Hustlers At Scores”. Now Barbash is suing Lopez’s production company for $40 million in damages.

The defendants named in Barbash’s lawsuit include Lopez’s Nuyorican Productions, as well as STX Films, Gloria Sanchez Productions and Pole Sisters LLC. Barbash’s lawyer Bruno V. Gioffre, Jr. told Rolling Stone “My client is offended that the defendants used her likeness to make over $150 million, defamed her character and tried to trick her into selling her rights to the production company for a mere $6,000.00.”

Although the film takes a fictionalized approach to Barbash and Keo’s lives, Barbash’s lawsuit claims that the film was made “…with blatant disregard for their lack of authority and/or consent, Defendants proceeded to exploit Ms. Barbash’s likeness and character for the film and the promotion thereof.”

Barbash and her lawyer claim that the film stole from Barbash’s real life, including taking physical markings, piercings, and life events, like when Barbash famously gave photographers the middle finger outside a courthouse. According to the court papers, “Anyone who views the film will believe Plaintiff 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 tendenciesr.” Barbash is seeking $20 million in compensatory damages and $20 million in punitive damages and is demanding that all copies of the film be turned over.

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In the film, Lopez’s Ramona teams up with Constance Wu’s Destiny, who is based on Rosie Keo. The two women plot to target and drug rich Wall Street clients and charge thousands of dollars on their credit cards as a way to deal with the decrease in business at their strip club following the 2008 stock market crash. Keo and Barbash were both sentenced to five years probation and while Keo has been supportive of the film, even appearing on the red carpet along with the cast, Barbash has been outspoken with her criticism of Hustlers.

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Barbash told the New York Post in April 2019 that Hustlers stole her life story and misrepresented her, with Barbash claiming she was a hostess and not a stripper at the New York club Scores. Barbash told the Post that she planned on suing the production company, a threat she made good on this month.

On January 8, Barbash tweeted that followers should “stay tuned for all my television interviews.” Looks like this score is far from being settled.

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