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Dr. Dre's Attack On Dee Barnes Was Cut From Original 'Straight Outta Compton' Script
It turns out that Dr. Dre's assault on journalist Dee Barnes was included in the original draft of the Straight Outta Compton script—it just got cut. N.W.A biopic Straight Outta Compton came out last Friday, topping the box office list and generating $56.1 million, the L.A. Times reports. Critics have pointed out that the film is missing a few things, including Dr. Dre's alleged history of violence against numerous women like his former girlfriend, singer Michel'le, and TV journalist Dee Barnes.
On January 27, 1991, Dre was at a party at the Po Na Na Souk nightclub in Hollywood. Denise "Dee" Barnes was the host of FOX's Pump It Up! and in 1990, she interviewed Ice Cube. Ice Cube had recently split from N.W.A and had some disparaging things to say about the group, comments that ended in a Pump It Up segment about N.W.A. So, when Dre saw Barnes at the party that night, he allegedly attacked her, grabbing her by the hair and slamming her against a wall several times. When she attempted to escape him by running into the women's restroom, Dre followed her and began attacking her again.
Dre pleaded no contest to the assault, and was given a $2,500 fine, 240 hours of community service and probation for two years. Barnes sued Dre, and that suit was settled out of court.
This incident was in Jonathan Herman's original screenplay, and it goes a little something like this:
Dr. Dre sees Barnes at the party and walks up to her. His eyes are "glazed" and he's "drunk, with an edge of nastiness, contempt." He confronts her about the interview with Ice Cube, and she tells him she was just doing job.
"I thought we were cool, you and me. But you don't have a [expletive]. You just wanna laugh at N.W.A, make us all look like fools."
Barnes throws her drink in his face, and then he assaults her, "flinging her around like a rag doll, while she screams, cries, begs for him to stop."
That scene was eventually cut—it was never even shot. When asked about leaving out the incident during a panel discussion, director F. Gary Gray said they had to make cuts from their 150-page script. "What we had to do was make sure we served the narrative and the narrative was about N.W.A. It wasn't about a lot of side stories," he said.
Barnes wrote in Gawker that she doesn't think the beating should have been in the move—"the truth is too ugly for a general audience," she said. "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 one-time 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.'"
However, Barnes does feel like the movie should have mentioned it instead of entirely omitting it. Barnes also pointed out that Gray was the cameraman for Pump It Up!, and the one who was behind the camera during the Ice Cube interview that set Dre off. And, she said, it wasn't even supposed to be an Ice Cube interview—she was on the set of Boyz N the Hood to interview the rapper Yo Yo, another woman was also omitted from Straight Outta Compton. She believes that Gray and Pump It Up! producer Jeff Shore prepped Ice Cube to make hostile comments that day while talking to him or showing him footage of N.W.A dissing him in his trailer, saying that Ice Cube was in a good mood before the three went into his trailer. Barnes also accused Dre of blacklisting her in the industry, and thinks that if Eazy-E were still alive, he would have kept the film "more real."
However, after the attack on Barnes, Eazy-E said that the "bitch had it coming," and Dre told Rolling Stone in 1991 that it wasn't a "big thing—I just threw her through a door."
Recently, however, Dre told Rolling Stone something slightly more penitent:
I made some fucking horrible mistakes in my life. I was young, f*cking stupid. I would say all the allegations aren't true—some of them are. Those are some of the things that I would like to take back. It was really f*cked up. But I paid for those mistakes, and there's no way in hell that I will ever make another mistake like that again.
Of course, Ice Cube defended N.W.A's misogynist lyrics in the same interview, saying:
If you're a bitch, you're probably not going to like us. If you're a ho, you probably don't like us. If you're not a ho or a bitch, don't be jumping to the defense of these despicable females. Just like I shouldn't be jumping to the defense of no punks or no cowards or no slimy son of a bitches that's men. I never understood why an upstanding lady would even think we're talking about her.