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Real-Life Inspiration For J.Lo’s Film Hustlers Sues For $40 Million

Jennifer Lopez is not having a good week. Not only did she get passed over for the Best Supporting Actress Golden Globe on Sunday, but now the film company STX that made her film Hustlers is being sued by the real-life stripper whose exploits helped inspire the film. 

When the film Hustlers premiered in September last year at TIFF, a buzz started that Jennifer Lopez may come away with an Oscar for her portrayal of a stripper/con-artist named Ramona who came up with a way of ripping off her wall-street clients. The film was inspired by a 2015 New York Magazine piece called “The Hustlers at Scores”, and J.Lo’s character was based on Samantha Barbash, who was one of the subjects of the piece. Ever since the film was released though, Barbash has threatened to sue over the film which she claims to have defamed her, and now she’s made good on her threat.

Barbash is seeking $20 million against STX for compensatory damages for using her likeness and her life story, and another $20 million for exemplary damages because the film has apparently permanently damaged her personal and professional reputation. She is also seeking a permanent injunction against the film to prevent the company from reproducing or distributing the film further. 

Before the film was made it’s being reported that STX attempted to get consent from Barbash to make the movie, and when a deal wasn’t reached they moved forward with it anyway. Hustlers has since gone on to earn over $157 million at the box office, and garnered Jennifer Lopez a Golden Globe nomination. J.Lo is expected to receive an Oscar nomination next week as well. The film was made on a budget of just $20 million, which makes it one of the most successful films of 2019.