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'Wolf of Wall Street' Lawsuit: Lawyer Wants $25M for Defamation

By Aditi Mukherji, JD | Last updated on

The lawyer in the Oscar-nominated Martin Scorsese film "The Wolf of Wall Street" has sparked a $25 million lawsuit against the producers.

The lawsuit centers on the portrayal of Nicky "Rugrat" Koskoff, played by actor P.J. Byrne.

Real-life lawyer Andrew Greene claims he is the real "Rugrat" and was portrayed as a toupee-wearing, degenerate drug user -- without consent.


"The Wolf of Wall Street" is a drug-addled story of New York stock broker Jordan Belfort's downfall in a massive securities fraud case. The film was based on a memoir written by Belfort and features a dizzying cocktail of Quaaludes, prostitutes, and dirty money.

Greene takes issue with a number of the depictions of the lawyer nicknamed "Rugrat," including scenes of him:

  • being a degenerate and depraved toupee wearer;
  • getting arrested in Miami;
  • doing cocaine at the business during business hours;
  • assisting with money laundering;
  • having sex with several prostitutes; and
  • shaving a female colleague's head after she was offered $10,000.

And let's not forget Donnie Azoff (Jonah Hill) remarking, "F---ing Rugrat that wig-wearing f----t I can't believe that f---ing guy. I want to kill him," and Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio) then responding, "Swear to God, I want to choke him to death. Irresponsible little prick," pointed out by The Hollywood Reporter.

Was 'Rugrat' really 'Wigwam'?

Greene says that he didn't consent to use of his image, likeness and characterization in "The Wolf of Wall Street." His claim stems from a New York civil rights law that protects a person's name and likeness.

Greene also claims the movie contains libelous statements that "permanently damaged" him by portraying him as a "criminal and drug user with misogynistic tendencies."

To succeed in his claims, Greene must prove that "Rugrat" and he are the same person. Greene says he was a top executive at Belfort's brokerage house during the time period featured in the movie. His full name and nickname "Wigwam" were used in the memoir that inspired the film -- although it allegedly changed from "Wigwam" to "Rugrat" for the movie.

With a touch of "Wolf"-like dramatic flair, he's seeking $25 million in damages and wants the film to be removed from theaters.

Maybe this is a new Oscars tradition. In 2010, a former Iraqi soldier claimed publicity rights violations and defamation over a portrayal in the Oscar-winning film "The Hurt Locker" -- also right before the Academy Awards.

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