The era that supported the 2019 stripper film, ‘Hustlers,’ became career defining for Jennifer Lopez.
Accompanied by award nominations and even Oscar buzz, the Lorene Scafaria-directed film not only earned J.Lo showers of critical acclaim but is also lodged in her personal record book as the best box office success of her career to date.
Among those particularly unimpressed with her performance, however, was Samantha Barbash – the woman who Lopez’s character in the flick was allegedly based on. First making headlines for threatening to sue the movie’s production company for “stealing her story” (as we reported here), unsuccessful negotiations led Barbash to press forward with a whopping $40 million defamation of character lawsuit (as we reported here).
Months after making headlines for doing so, Samantha’s going home empty-handed after a judge tossed her case.
“A federal judge has ruled in favor 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 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.”