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Strip-Club Host Hits JLo Company With Staggering Lawsuit

Samantha Barbash makes good on her promise to sue over 'Hustlers'
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 7, 2020 6:10 PM CST
Updated Jan 8, 2020 2:05 AM CST
In this Monday, June 9, 2014 photo provided by the Drug Enforcement Administration, Samantha Barbash, center, is escorted by law enforcement officers following her arrest in New York.   (AP Photo/DEA)
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(Newser) – The woman who inspired Jennifer Lopez's turn in Hustlers is suing the movie's production companies for an eye-popping $40 million, the Wrap reports. Samantha Barbash claims the producers defamed her and disregarded her civil rights. "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 $6000," a Barbash lawyer tells Rolling Stone. The lawsuit, filed Tuesday, doesn't claim the defendants fictionalized her life, but accuses them of engaging "in a systematic effort to make it well-known that JLO was playing Ms. Barbash."

The movie was based on a 2015 New York Magazine story, for which Barbash was a source, about (SPOILER ALERT) strippers who drugged and stole from customers. Barbash later turned down what she considered a lowball offer from the movie's producers to portray her on screen, per TMZ. The strip-club host now says the movie shows her as "using and manufacturing illegal substances in her home where she lived with her child," which she calls inaccurate and offensive. The four film companies she's suing—including Nuyorican Productions, which Lopez founded—are keeping mostly quiet, but STX Films says it will "defend our right to tell factually based stories based on the public record." Hustlers was made for a reported $20 million and has grossed over $157 million worldwide. (Read more lawsuit stories.)

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