The Woman That Inspired Hustlers Is Suing Jennifer Lopez's Production Company For $40 Million
Samantha Barbash, the inspiration behind Jennifer Lopez's Hustlers character, Ramona, is reportedly suing the movie's producers for a $40 million. In court documents, Barbash claims that producers tried to "obtain a consent and waiver from Ms. Barbash for the production of the film and their ultimate portrayal" and that they are attempting to "exploit" her likeness and character for the film.
Documents also claim that producers are defaming her by showing her "using and manufacturing illegal substances in her home where she lived with her child." According to People, Barbash is "seeking $20 million in compensatory damages and $20 million in punitive damages."
Barbash's suit calls out Lopez's production company, Nuyorican Productions, as well as STX Entertainment, Gloria Sanchez Productions, and Pole Sisters LLC. Hustlers is based on a 2015 story published in New York Magazine titled "The Hustlers at Scores." The role of Ramona earned Lopez a Golden Globe nomination at this year's ceremony.
Back in September, when the movie was released, Barbash told Vanity Fair that she "wasn't that impressed" by the film, though she didn't mention that she would be taking any sort of legal action against the producers.
"Everyone has been asking, 'Did I see the movie?' So, I thought, 'Why don't I just see the movie,' because I knew I was going to have a lot of interviews about it this week," she said. She criticized Lopez's portrayal, saying that her mannerisms were wrong and that in real life, "I am nothing like that in person."
Barbash, along with Roselyn "Rosie" Keo, the inspiration behind Constance Wu's character, Destiny, was sentenced to five years of probation. They were charged with two counts of conspiracy, four counts of grand larceny, two counts of assault, and three counts of forgery for allegedly drugging clients at a strip club and running up their credit cards. They have both released books about their experiences and have since moved on from their pasts, though Barbash's legal action puts her right back in the headlines.