'Wolf of Wall Street' hit with $25 million defamation suit

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Andrew Greene, who worked with notorious broker Jordan Belfort at Stratton Oakmont, is suing Paramount Pictures and the producers of The Wolf of Wall Street, including Leonardo DiCaprio’s production company Appian Way, for $25 million because he claims the Oscar-nominated film defames his reputation. In the film, actor P.J. Byrne plays Nicky “Rugrat” Koskoff, a character with a ridiculous toupee that is portrayed as “a criminal, a drug user, and a degenerate” that Greene claims is falsely based on him.

In Belfort’s 2007 memoir, on which the film is based, Greene’s real name was used, but according to the lawsuit, Greene never gave the filmmakers his consent for his involvement in the film — perhaps explaining the character’s name change. Greene claims that he has been maliciously and willfully defamed “as a criminal and drug user with misogynistic tendencies. Mr. Greene is portrayed as an individual with no moral or ethical values, which is injurious to him in his trade, business, or profession.”

In his complaint, filed Tuesday at the U.S. District Court Eastern District of New York, Greene is asking for $25 million and a court injunction that would enforce the handover of all copies of the movie, as well as any and all advertising that includes his likeness.

Paramount and Red Granite declined to comment on the case.

Greene is only the most recent person to challenge his or her on-screen depiction. In December, several members of the Ramapough Lunaape Nation Tribe sued the movie Out of the Furnace for defamation, claiming that Woody Harrelson’s backwoods character painted the New Jersey clan in a negative light. In 2010, an Iraqi vet sued the makers of The Hurt Locker, claiming the Oscar-winning movie was based on his life. That case was dismissed. Back in 2008, DEA agents sued NBC Universal for $55 million, claiming that their depiction in the Denzel Washington movie American Gangster was defamatory. That case was also dismissed.


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