Samantha Barbash, the real-life Ramona in "Hustlers", is suing Jennifer Lopez's production company for 40 million dollars over defamation. She says that the film connects too many similarities from her interview for New York Magazine, "The Hustlers at Scores", for her to not get a bigger cut of profits.
It seems irresponsible that a bunch of production companies would feign ignorance when it comes to the subject of their film's consent. Coming up are the similarities and differences that make Barbash's case legitimate.
Real Life Events
From the setting of Barbash's workplace to intimate details of the crimes committed, "Hustlers" told the truth of her story without crediting her likeness.
"Scores" was the club Barbash worked at, while Ramona's was "Moves", the film not bothering to change the name too much. Moreover, the plan to drug and rob Wall Street men was almost exactly what she told her interviewer for New York Magazine. Not to mention, Barbash's arrest, legal proceedings, and plea deal were allegedly also copied without permission.
Barbash Was Not A Stripper
The Defamation in "Hustlers" is the fact that she was allegedly never a stripper, but a hostess at "Scores". It's understandable that Barbash would seek counsel in this situation since her likeness is almost exactly like Jennifer Lopez's depiction of Ramona. Not to mention, if her life ended up anything like Ramona's at the end of "Hustlers", then she'll need any scrap of dignity to survive in a world where she is now an infamous public figure.
Although strippers should be respected for their careers and not demeaned, it's in Barbash's interest for the public to know stripper or hostess, her story was taken. With enough evidence and testimony from people who worked with her at "Scores", Barbash could at least win a settlement.
$150 Million Profit
More shocking still, after using Barbash's likeness without permission, it was revealed that she was allegedly only offered $6,000 for her life rights. The film was a box office hit, making a 150 million dollar profit, Barbash seeing none of it.
Moreover, "Hustlers" was critically acclaimed, now bound to receive accolades as awards season presses on, furthering the careers of all the actresses involved, while she remains with a tainted slate. Meanwhile, Constance Wu and Jennifer Lopez are set for Oscar buzz.
Flipping The Bird
One of the last images the audience sees of Ramona in "Hustlers" is her leaving her plea deal and giving the middle finger to all the paparazzi and media outside the courthouse. It is arguably, now, one of the most iconic moments in film history, and it was a real moment made originally by Barbash.
There is no "Hustlers" without Barbash. Barbash is a victim of circumstance, just like Ramona, and if her claims are true, then it's time for a reckoning.