Seventeen members of the Ramapough Lunaape Nation have sued the makers of the film “Out of the Furnace,” saying the movie portrays their Native American people in a false light and has caused humiliation for the tribe.
The lawsuit, filed Monday in New Jersey District Court, asks for compensatory and punitive damages of more than $150,000 and the costs of suit.
The film stars stars Christian Bale, Casey Affleck and Woody Harrelson and is set in the Ramapo Mountains along the New York-New Jersey border about 25 miles west of New York City.
The lawsuit states characters in the film have last names that are common among the Ramapough and that it perpetuates negative and unfounded stereotypes.
In the movie, Bale’s character seeks his missing brother who has been killed at the hands of Woody Harrelson’s character, named Harlan DeGroat.
Eight of the plaintiffs share the DeGroat surname. Another film character has the last name of Van Dunk, as does one of the plaintiffs.
Relativity Media, which released the film earlier this month, didn’t immediately respond to CNN’s request for comment. Also named in suit were the writers and producers of the film.
The gang in the movie is called the “Jackson Whites,” which the suit says is a well-known derogatory term in the area.
The lawsuit says the Ramapough are a Native American group recognized as a tribe by the states of New Jersey and New York.
“Any reasonable person would be offended by the false light in which the movie placed the people who have the family name of DeGroat and Van Dunk and who are known to live in the Ramapo Mountains and/or be part of the group now or formerly known as Jackson Whites,” the suit alleges.
By Steve Almasy