Why Jennifer Lopez's new stripper film has been banned

Alice Howarth
Photo credit: Matt Winkelmeyer - Getty Images

From Harper's BAZAAR

Jennifer Lopez has been making headlines this week not just for that incredible Versace dress moment during Milan fashion week. Her latest film, Hustlers, has been banned in Malaysia due to "excessive obscene content".

Photo credit: Jon Kopaloff - Getty Images

The film, which also stars Constance Wu, Julia Stiles, Lizzo and Cardi B, follows a group of strippers who set out to fleece their wealthy Wall Street clients by changing their credit card details while they’re under the influence of alcohol and drugs.

However, due to scenes featuring bare breasts, erotic dances and drug use, the country's film censorship board has deemed it “not suitable for public screening". Square Box Pictures, who are the company distributing the film in Malaysia took to Instagram to confirm the news.

In an official announcement, they said: “We regret to inform you that Hustlers movie release has been cancelled as it has been banned in Malaysia. We deeply apologise for the inconveniences caused to our beloved followers, fans of the movie, medias and partners.

“We certainly appreciate all the love and support from our fans and movie lovers for this title; yet it’s our loss that we are unable to carry on. Our sincere apologies that we have let you down.”

The film, which was given a 15 certificate by the BBFC (British Board of Film Classification) due to its “sexualised nudity, strong sex references, language and drug misuse”, is currently ranking high in both the UK and US box office charts.

Based on a true story that was revealed in a 2015 issue of New York Magazine, it has received solid reviews however it did come under criticism by one of the women it’s based on. Samantha Barbash, who inspired Jennifer Lopez’s character Ramona Vega, originally slammed the film’s inaccuracy in an interview with TMZ. She went on to claim that she had refused to sell the rights to the film due to the sum she was offered.

“There’s a part that she’s cooking drugs in a stove with her daughter there,” she said. “First of all, it’s just not an accurate movie.

“People are going to see the movie because J-Lo’s on a stripper pole. I don’t even know how to do a – I’ve never been on a stripper pole like that in my life.”

“They pretty much, basically, stole my story. I wouldn’t sign my rights away,” she said. “I wasn’t giving up my film and TV rights for peanuts. J-Lo doesn’t work for free. Why would I?”

Later, however, she did tell Vanity Fair that she “wasn’t really that impressed” with the film but she did appreciate Lopez’s work.

“I was impressed with Jennifer,” she said, “She was incredible. Her body looked incredible. She had it down to a T, but it wasn’t factual.”

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