Hustlers was a 2019 crime drama film written and directed by Lorene Scafaria which was based on New York magazine’s 2015 article “The Hustlers at Scores” by Jessica Pressler.
The critically acclaimed movie has the plot follow a crew of strippers in New York City who begins stealing money by drugging stock traders and CEOs who visited their club, then emptying their credit cards.
Jennifer Lopez who starred in the film as Ramona also produced the film through Nuyorican Productions alongside Jessica Elbaum, Will Ferrell, and Adam McKay through their Gloria Sanchez banner.
Among all the buzz for the movie was some unimpressed people, namely Samantha Barbash, the woman whom Jennifer Lopez character in the movie was allegedly based on. Samantha threatened to sue the movie production company for “stealing her story” and after a number of unsuccessful negotiations, she went ahead with a $40 million defamation character lawsuit. However, Samantha will not be awarded any part of her claim as a judge tossed her case.
Reports said: “A federal judge has ruled in favour of Jennifer Lopez’s ‘Hustlers’ production company.
According to court documents obtained by EW, a multi-million-dollar lawsuit from Samantha Barbash — a former adult entertainer whose life story inspired Lorene Scafaria’s Lopez-starring hit film Hustlers — has been dismissed by a judge in the U.S. District Court Southern District of New York.
In January, Barbash sued Hustlers distributor STX, Gloria Sanchez Productions, Lopez’s Nuyorican Productions, Pole Sisters LLC, and 10 John and Jane Does for $40 million (split evenly between compensatory and punitive damages) for what she claimed was the exploitation of her image and defamation of character. The film followed Lopez as Ramona Vega, a veteran stripper who spearheaded a gang of exotic dancers who drugged their wealthy Wall Street clients and swindled thousands of dollars from their bank accounts when they were incapacitated.
The court found that, although it was inspired by journalist Jessica Pressler’s 2015 article The Hustlers at Scores, which detailed Barbash’s involvement in a similar, real-life plot, the film did not use Barbash’s “name, portrait, picture, or voice” in the movie. The court further found that Barbash’s participation in various media pegged to the film’s release — including giving interviews for two feature articles and publishing her own memoir — rendered it “appropriate to treat Barbash as a limited-purpose public figure,” and when Barbash failed to plead actual malice on the part of producers as a result, the defamation case was dismissed.”
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