When Hollywood Decides to Make a Movie About Your Life: What are the Consequences? Short Answer – None.
Recent box office hit, Hustlers, featuring a slew of well-established celebrities from Jennifer Lopez to Cardi B, has come under fire for claims of exploitation and defamation from the very woman who inspired the movie plot. That woman is Samantha Barbash whose story of hustling wall street executives was published in a New York Times article which was subsequently adapted as the screenplay for Hustlers. In her lawsuit, Barbash is claiming that Hustlers used her “likeness and story without her permission and defamed her in the movie” and she is now asking for $20 million in punitive damages and $20 million in compensatory damages. Barbash particularly takes issue with a scene that shows lead character Ramona, meant to represent Barbash, using and manufacturing illegal drugs in her home where she lives with her child. Barbash claims this scene is offensive and inherently untrue.
This post was originally published on the Cardozo Arts & Entertainment Law Journal website on February 5, 2020. The original post can be accessed via the Archived Link button above.
Trakhtenberg, Amanda, "When Hollywood Decides to Make a Movie About Your Life: What are the Consequences? Short Answer – None." (2020). AELJ Blog. 219.