A production company owned by Jennifer Lopez is being sued by Samantha Barbash, the woman who inspired the pop star’s role as Ramona Vega in the acclaimed 2019 film “Hustlers,” according to multiple reports.
Per TMZ, Barbash is taking Nuyorican Productions to task to the tune of $40 million — $20 million in compensatory damages and $20 million in punitive damages — over claims the company “exploited” her likeness and her story without her permission. Additionally, the 47-year-old says the film defamed her in the process.
According to court documents obtained by People magazine, Barbash alleges that the movie’s producers attempted to “obtain a consent and waiver from Ms. Barbash for the production of the film and their ultimate portrayal” of her. Barbash allegedly rejected any requests by producers and refused to sign any of the consent waivers for the film, but the company moved forward with production anyway, TMZ reported.
Per People, citing the court documents, Barbash also alleges the film defamed her by portraying Lopez’s character “using and manufacturing illegal substances in her home where she lived with her child.”
“The film depicts Ms. Barbash, played by Jennifer Lopez (‘JLO’) 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,” according to the lawsuit, obtained by Page Six. “Defendants did not take caution to protect the rights of Ms. Barbash by creating a fictionalized character, or by creating a composite of characters to render JLO’s character a new fictitious one; rather they engaged in a systematic effort to make it well-known that JLO was playing Ms. Barbash.”
Furthermore, the suit claims the movie even recreated published images of Barbash in the film, including the infamous picture in which Barbash flashed double middle fingers to photographers as she exited a courthouse, Page Six reported.
“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 tendencies,” the court papers stated.
According to the outlet, while the complaint also names STX Financing, Gloria Sanchez Productions; Pole Sister, LLC, and a number of Jane and John Doe individuals, it does not name Lopez herself.
Additional demands made by Barbash in the suit also call for the cease of any distribution or release of the film, which premiered in September, according to Page Six. Barbash also reportedly wants all promotional materials and copies of the movie to be turned over.
In November, Barbash — who reportedly pleaded guilty in 2017 to conspiracy, assault and grand larceny in exchange for five years’ probation — told Fox News exclusively that news of Lopez’s claim that she did the movie for free is “a bunch of bulls—,” to say the least.
“She definitely got a huge sum of money upfront and on the back end,” Barbash said. “She’s stating that she bet on herself and she got money on the back end, which is not true. She got money all around.”
The named productions companies did not immediately respond to Fox News’ requests for comment.