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Ex-stripper who inspired J. Lo's 'Hustlers' character files $40M lawsuit over portrayal in the movie, reports say

Jennifer Lopez as Ramona and Constance Wu as

Jennifer Lopez as Ramona and Constance Wu as Destiny in a scene from "Hustlers." Credit: STXfilms

The former stripper whose real-life adventures inspired the Jennifer Lopez movie "Hustlers" is suing the star's production company and others for $40 million, saying producers illegally appropriated her life story without consent.

Both TheBlast.com and TMZ.com on Tuesday cited court documents to report that Samantha Barbash, the basis for Lopez's character Ramona Vega, had filed a suit contending that her likeness and story were used without permission. Additionally, Barbash, who is in her mid-40s, said the movie defamed her by falsely showing her character as "using and manufacturing illegal substances in her home where she lived with her child."

Named in the suit are Lopez's Nuyorican Productions and two other production companies, Gloria Sanchez Productions and Pole Sisters LLC, and the film's distributor, STX Entertainment.

TMZ specified Barbash is suing for $20 million in compensatory damages and $20 million in punitive damages. As well, she asks that producers turn over to her all copies of the 2019 movie.

A representative for Lopez had no comment. Barbash's attorney, Bruno V. Gioffre of White Plains, and representatives for STX did not respond to Newsday requests for comment.

"Hustlers," released in September and adapted from Jessica Pressler's 2015 New York magazine article "The Hustlers at Scores," follows a group of exotic dancers who turn the tables on sleazy Wall Street strip-club patrons by drugging and robbing them. The real-life women were eventually arrested, and Bronx native Barbash pleaded guilty in 2017 to conspiracy, assault and grand larceny, receiving five years probation.

Shortly after the film's release, Barbash, who performed under the name Samantha Foxx at New York City clubs including Scores and the Hustler Club, had her attorney contact STX Entertainment demanding payment for use of his client's likeness, personality, biography and identity, according to TMZ.com, which obtained a copy of the letter.

For her work in “Hustlers,” Lopez was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in Any Motion Picture, losing to Laura Dern for "Marriage Story."

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