Jennifer Lopez starred as Ramona in Hustlers (Picture: Allstar/STXFILMS)
The producers of Hustlers have won a lawsuit against the real-life stripper that Jennifer Lopez’s character is thought to have been based on.
The actress starred as Ramona in the film – a stripper who runs a side hustle scamming and drugging wealthy Wall Street bankers.
It’s widely believed her character was based on Samantha Barbash, who plead guilty to conspiracy, assault and grand larceny in 2017 in exchange for five years’ probation.
Barbash had filed a complaint against STX, Gloria Sanchez Productions and Lopez’s Nuyorican Productions following the movie, claiming it exploited her likeness without her permission and defamed her.
US District Court Judge Denise Cote dismissed the exploitation claim, arguing that the movie didn’t use Barbash’s name, portrait, picture, or voice, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
In terms of the defamation complaint, the site reports that the judge found sufficient alleged falsity in its portrayal of drug use.
Barbash previously pleaded guilty to participating in a conspiracy in which she and others would provide victims with drugs in order to gain control of their credit cards.
However, contrary to what is shown in the film, she did not participate in the making or manufacturing of the drugs, and she didn’t use them.
Nevertheless, the judge pointed out that Barbash has pleaded guilty to crimes in open court, and given interviews about her experience.
Cote said Barbash wasn’t successful in pleading that the defendants acted with malice.
The film was a hit with viewers (Picture: REX/Shutterstock)
She wrote: ‘Barbash pled guilty to drugging individuals without their consent.
‘The Pressler Article reports that Barbash concocted the recipe for the mixture of illegal drugs that rendered the scheme’s victims vulnerable to the fraud. Nor does the FAC plead that the Defendants acted with malice in asserting that Barbash herself used drugs.
‘That assertion is the least offensive of all of the statements of which Barbash complains and is naturally connected to the scheme to which Barbash pleaded guilty and which she discussed with journalists.’
Hustlers earned critical-acclaim and a best supporting actress Golden Globe nomination for Jennifer but she lost out to Laura Dern for her performance in The Marriage Story.
The blockbuster, directed by Lorene Scafaria, was made on a budget of $20.7 million (£15.6 million) but went on to amass an impressive $157 million (£119 million) at the box office.
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