Samantha Barbash, the former strip-club hostess who inspired Jennifer Lopez’s critically-acclaimed turn as Romana Vega in 2019 film “Hustlers”, is suing the Bronx-born diva’s production company for $20 million.
Barbash, 47, whose habit of drugging and robbing patrons inspired the movie, claims Lopez’s company Nuyorican Productions “exploited” her likeness in the film without her permission, according to her Manhattan federal court defamation lawsuit filed Tuesday.
She refused to sign any of the consent waivers offered to her by the filmmakers, yet they went ahead and used her likeness anyway, the suit claims
“The film depicts Ms Barbash, played by Jennifer Lopez (“JLO”) as the ringleader of a group of adult dancers who drugged their patrons and stole exuberant amounts of money from them while in their incapacitated state,” the lawsuit reads.
“Defendants did not take caution to protect the rights of Ms Barbash by creating a fictionalized character, or by creating a composite of characters to render JLO’s character a new fictitious one; rather they engaged in a systematic effort to make it well-known that JLO was playing Ms Barbash.”
The lawsuit goes on to say that the film went so far as to have J. Lo’s character replicate images of Barbash printed in The Post — including her giving two middle fingers to photographers as she left court.
Samantha Barbash (left) and Jennifer Lopez
“Anyone who views the film will believe Plaintiff to be an individual of little to no moral or ethical values, devoid of any loyalty to her colleagues, under the influence of hard drugs, and with misandrist tendencies,” the court papers read.
Barbash was sentenced to five months probation in 2017 after copping a guilty plea conspiracy, assault, and grand larceny.
The complaint names STX Financing, Gloria Sanchez Productions, Pole Sister LLC, Nuyorican Productions and various John and Jane Does as defendants — but not J. Lo herself.
Barbash is also demanding producers cease the release of the film, which came out in September and turn over all copies and promotional material.
None of the production companies responded to requests for comment.
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