Samantha Barbash has filed a federal lawsuit against Jennifer Lopez’s production company and others apart of the megahit Hustlers, with claims that her likeness was exploited in the film.
According to PEOPLE, Barbash’s suit includes Lopez’s production company Nuyorican Productions, STX Entertainment, Gloria Sanchez Productions and Pole Sisters LLC. Lawyer Bruno V. Gioffre Jr. claims filmmakers tried to “obtain a consent and waiver from Ms. Barbash for the production of the film and their ultimate portrayal” of her and failed after Barbash refused to sign over her life rights. The film was still made as it was based on a 2015 New York Magazine article titled, “The Hustlers at Scores,” about Barbash and several co-workers who drugged wealthy clients for their money.
Released in 2018, critics and fans fawned over Lopez’s strong performance but Barbash shared in several interviews she wasn’t impressed. She is now seeking $20 million in compensatory damages and $20 million in punitive damages. Barbash and her lawyer pointed towards specific scenes in the film that weren’t accurate like Lopez’s character “using and manufacturing illegal substances in her home where she lived with her child.”
“I’m a businesswoman. J. Lo doesn’t work for free. Why would I? At the end of the day, I have bags that are worth more than what they wanted to pay me,” Barbash told TMZ in September 2018. “She had my birthmark that I have. I used to have a piercing on the top of my lip. She had it on the bottom. She had a tattoo on her finger. I had it on my wrist. But her mannerisms? No. I am nothing like that in person.”
Hustlers proved to be a hit at the box office, grossing over $33 million in its opening weekend. Lopez has also received critical praise for her performance and earned a Golden Globe nomination.