Five years ago, tabloids reported on a cardiologist who refused to pay a $135,000 bill that he ran up at the Manhattan strip club Scores. Now, multiples arrests and one extremely detailed (and fascinating) New York magazine feature later, there's a movie "inspired" by the scandal.
It turned out that the doctor, Zyad Younan, had been drugged by strippers at Scores, who then ran up his bill. And he wasn't the only one, with the strippers targeting men at restaurants and bars and then plying them with drugs before taking them to a strip club and charging them tens of thousands each. Five women who worked at Scores took plea deals (for charges like grand larceny and conspiracy), and some told their story to New York writer Jessica Pressler. That story became the jumping-off point for the new film Hustlers (out in September), starring Jennifer Lopez, Constance Wu, Cardi B (who once stripped at New York Dolls, and had a different kind of run-in at a Queens strip club more recently), Keke Palmer, Lili Reinhart, and Lizzo as the team of strippers who rob Wall Street guys.
J.Lo's character, Ramona, motivates her colleagues to join her plan with a rather progressive speech, "These Wall Street guys… you see what they did to this country? They stole from everybody. Hardworking people lost everything. And not one of these douchebags went to jail."
She adds, "The game is rigged and it does not reward people who play by the rules."
And that's Julia Stiles, who plays Pressler.
Lorene Scafaria, who wrote the screenplay and directed the film, told Vulture, "I felt like I’d seen a scene in a strip club in every single TV show and movie ever. It’s a setting that people have used time and time again and we’ve only seen that from one side, for the most part. I was fascinated by what this story represents: gender as it relates to money, the American Dream, the fact that people rarely think of women as ‘blue collar.’ It’s certainly a period piece also, about 2007 and 2008 and the financial crisis, and how it changed this industry — and these women."
— Jessica Pressler (@jpressler) July 17, 2019
As for cardiologist Younan, who claimed he was an innocent victim, Samantha Barbash, the "mastermind" behind the scam (the J.Lo character is loosely based on her), said he was a regular strip club patron, telling Pressler, "He’s a scumbag like the rest of them. These guys are all over these girls. They get fucked up, they know what the hell they’re doing."