Lawyer Andrew Greene is suing Paramount for $25 million over his depiction in Martin Scorcese's The Wolf of Wall Street, and is demanding the film be removed from theaters.
The 2013 film is based on the true story and memoirs of corrupt stockbroker Jordan Belfort, and Greene was Belfort's real-life co-worker and head of corporate finance at Stratton Oakmont before the firm's collapse. While Greene is not mentioned by name in the movie adaptation, his lawyers say it is "readily apparent" that the character Nicky "Rugrat" Koskoff was based on him.
The Wolf of Wall Street narrowly avoided an NC-17 rating, and has been banned or edited in several countries. The film is controversial due to its explicit language, sex scenes, drug use, and its depiction of women and handicapped persons, and has been accused of glorifying the characters' hedonism and debauchery.
The character Nicky Koskoff is depicted doing cocaine on the job, having sex with prostitutes, and shaving a female employee's head after she is offered $10,000 for breast implants if she does so. Greene claims the filmmakers never got permission to use his name or likeness, and that their portrayal of Koskoff makes Greene himself look like "a criminal, drug user, degenerate, depraved, and/or devoid of any morality or ethics." He also claims the portrayal has damaged his professional reputation as an investment banker, and that the character's obvious toupee mocks his own premature hair loss.
The outcome of Greene's suit remains to be seen, but he is not the first to object to the film's portrayal of his "real-life" character. Danny Porush, who started Stratton Oakmont with Jordan Belfort, has also complained about the film's authenticity. Although producers changed Porush's character's name to "Danny Azoff" in the film after he threatened to sue, he claimed last month that his portrayal in the film was inaccurate, and was particularly adamant that he had never engaged in a threesome with Belfort, exposed himself in public or taken illegal drugs.
Wolf of Wall Street stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill have both defended the film in the past, saying the movie does not glorify bad behavior. The film is nominated for Best Picture in this year's Oscars.