Members of the Ramapough Lunaape Nation have filed a $50 million lawsuit against the makers of the movie "Out of the Furnace," claiming the film negatively depicts them.
Filed Monday in New Jersey, the suit alleges false characterizations about residents of the Ramapo Mountains along the New York-New Jersey border, The Associated Press reports
. Specifically, the film's characters have common last names of people in the area.
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The film stars Christian Bale, Casey Affleck, and Woody Harrelson. Bale's character is seeking his missing brother (Affleck), who has died at the behest of Woody Harrelson's character, Harlan DeGroat. Harrelson's group is referred to as the "Jackson Whites" and described as a community of "inbreds," according to The Hollywood Reporter
The term "Jackson Whites" is a historically derogatory term for the Ramapough people, and refers to "the inbred mountain folk of Jersey," the suit said.
The film came out Dec. 6 to mixed reviews.
Shortly before its release, Ramapough chief Dwaine Perry likened the film to a "hate crime," according to The Bergen Record
"This movie is so unnecessary and so tragic," Perry told the paper. "It has dredged up a lot of painful memories for people my age and the kids are suffering comments at school. Parents see the film, talk about it at the dinner table and the kids take it to school."
For its part, film distributor Relativity Media said the film is "entirely fictional."
Eight of the 17 plaintiffs have the DeGroat surname. Another character in the film has the last name of Van Dunk, which matches two of the plaintiffs.
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