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Music journalist Dee Barnes is speaking out about an attack she says she suffered at the hands of Dr. Dre in the 1990s.
Barnes reflected on the incident for Gawker after watching Straight Outta Compton. She noted that the NWA biopic leaves out the brutality she and other women allegedly suffered at the hands of Dre.
The incident involving Barnes occurred in 1991 at a Hollywood record-release party. Dre was angry about a report by Barnes on the Fox show Pump It Up that included a clip of Ice Cube (who had recently departed NWA) insulting his former bandmates. Dre allegedly tried to throw Barnes down a flight of stairs, choked her and pinned her to the floor of the women’s bathroom with his knee on her chest. Barnes eventually settled out of court with Dre over the incident. Dre also pleaded no contest to assault and served two years probation.
“That event isn’t depicted in Straight Outta Compton, but I don’t think it should have been, either. The truth is too ugly for a general audience. I didn’t want to see a depiction of me getting beat up, just like I didn’t want to see a depiction of Dre beating up Michel’le, his onetime girlfriend who recently summed up their relationship this way: ‘I was just a quiet girlfriend who got beat on and told to sit down and shut up,’ ” wrote Barnes. “But what should have been addressed is that it occurred.”
Barnes went on to write that the film should have addressed the number of women Dre has been accused of assaulting, including Michel’le and Tairrie B, whom he allegedly assaulted at a Grammys party in 1990.
“In his lyrics, Dre made hyperbolic claims about all these heinous things he did to women,” wrote Barnes. “But then he went out and actually violated women. Straight Outta Compton would have you believe that he didn’t really do that. It doesn’t add up.”
Barnes noted that Straight Outta Compton director F. Gary Gray was her Pump It Up cameraman, so he was behind the scenes for the segment that apparently led to Dre’s desire to attack. Barnes has suffered chronic migraines since the attack and has effectively been blacklisted from music journalism — because people fear hurting their relationships with Dre.
Barnes goes on to write that she auditioned for a part in Gray’s 1996 drama, Set It Off, but that Gray said he wouldn’t hire her because he wanted to cast Dre in the movie.
“The biggest problem with Straight Outta Compton is that it ignores several of NWA’s own harsh realities,” wrote Barnes.
Reps for Gray and Dre’s production company did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
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