August 15, 2003 01:00am
Nude Dancer Sues Tabloid Over Affleck sex Stories
(LOS ANGELES, CA) -- Rest easy, J.Lo. She says it never happened. Antonella Santini, the exotic dancer featured in salacious National Enquirer stories that purported to detail a sexual encounter she had with actress Jennifer Lopez' fiance, Ben Affleck, has sued the tabloid, saying she never had sex with the "Gigli" actor.
But the Enquirer, which published two articles about Affleck's visit to Brandi's all-nude club in Vancouver, British Columbia, and his alleged encounter with Santini, says it is standing by its story.
The articles prompted reports in mainstream media that Affleck's engagement to Lopez -- one of America's most famous celebrity romances -- was on the rocks.
In a lawsuit filed on Thursday in Los Angeles, Santini, whose stage name is "Felicia," contended the whole incident was fabricated by another dancer, Tammy Morris, who she claimed in court papers was paid $100,000 for her story.
"The true story is that... Affleck visited Brandi's and during his visit, plaintiff and other dancers danced for Affleck and other patrons in Brandi's VIP room," the lawsuit said. "Contrary to the Enquirer's reports, Plaintiff did not engage in any sex acts with Affleck."
Santini named Morris and three Enquirer reporters as defendants in the libel suit, along with the Enquirer's parent company, American Media, Inc.
She asks for punitive damages against the Enquirer, saying the tabloid should have known Morris was an unreliable source because she failed at least one polygraph test, and passed only after taking Ativan, an anti-anxiety medication.
The defendants "must be punished before they callously destroy another private person's life in their race to profit and to sell tabloid magazines," the lawsuit said.
A spokesman for American Media said "all our sources stand by the story and we expect to resolve this in our favor very quickly."