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Stripper who inspired Jennifer Lopez’s ‘Hustlers’ character threatens lawsuit

Barbash claims the production studio did not get permission to use her life story.


Dominic-Madori Davis


Posted on Sep 24, 2019   Updated on May 20, 2021, 3:03 am CDT

Not everyone was pleased with Jennifer Lopez’s new movie Hustlers—especially the women who Lopez’s character was based on.

Samantha Barbash, who served as inspiration for Ramona, is threatening to sue STX Entertainment, the production studio behind Hustlers­­­­, for not getting her permission to use her life story.

Bruno Gioffre, who is representing Barbash, recently sent a letter to the production studio calling for STX to resolve “the flagrant violation of her rights” and that their client “unequivocally rejected all offers to be included in the film.” The letter does not mention how much Barbash is asking for.

STX has since responded to the legal suit, stating that it did not need Barbash’s permission to make the movie.

“We will defend our right to tell factually based stories based on the public record and look forward to resolving this matter before a judge,” an STX spokesperson said.

Barbash spoke to TMZ last week and called out Lopez for “defaming” her with the character’s portrayal of drug use. She also clarified that she rejected the producers’ initial offers for the rights to her story because it simply wasn’t enough money. She also alleged that Lopez never reached out to her during the production of the film.

“I wouldn’t sign my rights away,” she told the outlet. “I wasn’t giving up my TV and film rights for peanuts. J.Lo doesn’t work for free. Why would I? I’m a businesswoman.”

Lopez has received praise and even Oscar buzz for her performance in Hustlers.

Based off New York magazine’s 2015 essay The Hustlers at Scores by Jessica Pressler, the film also boasts Crazy Rich Asians star Constance Wu, Good Morning America co-host Keke Palmer, and Riverdale actress Lili Reinhart. It has received positive reviews from critics and smashed box office expectations, opening with a whopping $33 million.

Even Barbash had something nice to say about the film. Despite her criticisms of Lopez, Barbash praised Cardi B’s performance.

“Cardi was in the strip club business,” she said. “I think with acting lessons she would have been great.”

Lopez has yet to comment on the lawsuit or allegations.


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*First Published: Sep 24, 2019, 11:46 am CDT