Strippers and sex workers are not happy with new Jennifer Lopez movie 'Hustlers'

Jennifer Lopez and Constance Wu in Hustlers (Credit: STX Films)
Jennifer Lopez and Constance Wu in Hustlers (Credit: STX Films)

Strip club employees have hit back at new Jennifer Lopez movie Hustlers, saying that they were not offered any compensation after its location was closed down for filming.

Show Palace in Queens, New York, a real-life club, was out of action for a week, with some workers saying that they were never offered any compensation, according to a report in Rolling Stone magazine.

While some were paid to appear as background artists, those who were not lost out on thousands of dollars in lost earnings.

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One dancer who works at the club took aim at Lopez, tweeting: “I work at where they filmed and was out of commission the whole week, no compensation of any kind. She dont care about dancers, thats why im not seeing her trash movie.”

“That’s these girls’ livelihoods on the line,” added Gizelle Marie, a stripper and sex-worker's rights advocate.

“As far as being protected financially or getting paid, people feel like we are disposable.”

The movie is based on an article from New York magazine published in 2015, in which a group of strippers teamed up to scam the Wall Street bankers coming into their club and beat the recession.

It stars Jennifer Lopez as strip club veteran Ramona and Contance Wu as Destiny, a struggling dancer, with both actresses getting serious Oscar buzz for their performances.

The report has also found that many other sex workers find the hierarchy of sex work depicted in the movie offensive.

(Credit: STX Films)
(Credit: STX Films)

One scene finds Destiny performing a sex act on a man in exchange for money, the scene being used to show her hitting her lowest point.

“It perpetuates the stigma of what [dancers] are doing is dirty, but what [escorts are] doing is dirtier,” Mollie, co-chair of the Sex Workers Outreach Project, told the magazine.

“Enforcing that stigma is dangerous to everyone… sex work is sex work, period. We’re all here for the same reason, which is to make money.”

Meanwhile, the movie's marketing strategy has also come under scrutiny, after it tried to popularise the hashtag #tweetyourhustle.

This is despite the widespread 'shadowbanning' and 'deplatforming' of sex workers online, in which they are frequently banned from social media for promoting themselves.

However, there has been praise for the film too.

“It portrayed us as the complex humans that we are. Not just like blow up dolls,” Laura LeMoon, a freelance writer and sex worker, told the magazine.

“The sisterhood between Jennifer Lopez’s character and Constance Wu’s character made me cry. We are more than tits and ass. We love, we cry, we dream, we have each other’s backs.”

It follows news from earlier this year that Samantha Barbash, the woman on whom Lopez’s character is based, has considered taking legal action against the filmmakers for using her story, claiming she has been misrepresented.

She later told Vanity Fair that they eventually offered to buy her life rights but ‘at the end of the day, I have bags that are worth more than what they wanted to pay me’.

Hustlers is out now across the UK.