UPDATE: While Dr. Dre’s assault on Dee Barnes was totally omitted from the Straight Outta Compton movie, the LA Times has secured an earlier copy of the screenplay which included the assault. This is how the scene apparently played out:
“In the scene, the fictional Dre, ‘eyes glazed, drunk, with an edge of nastiness, contempt’ (per noted from the script) spots Barnes at the party and approaches her.
“Saw that [expletive] you did with Cube. Really had you under his spell, huh? Ate up everything he said. Let him diss us. Sell us out.”
“I just let him tell his story,” Barnes’ character retorts, “That’s what I do. It’s my job.”
“I thought we were cool, you and me,” Dre fires back. “But you don’t give a [expletive]. You just wanna laugh at N.W.A, make us all look like fools.”
The conversation escalates, Barnes throws her drink in Dre’s face before he attacks her “flinging her around like a rag-doll, while she screams, cries, begs for him to stop.”
It must be noted that this version seems to blame Barnes for the situation escalating, and may be entirely factually inaccurate. According to Barnes, no drink was ever thrown by her, and the situation played out very differently to what is described in the script above.
One of the biggest storylines surrounding the release of N.W.A biopic Straight Outta Compton (outside of the new Dr. Dre album, the huge box office numbers, and the many N.W.A reunion profiles) has been the role of women in the film and in the lives of Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, MC Ren, DJ Yella, and Eazy-E (RIP).
While N.W.A’s misogynistic lyrics were a big part of what made them so controversial in the first place, their personal issues with women had faded somewhat as nostalgia took over—prior to the release of the film, at least. Once buzz started building, critics noted the complete omission of any of Dr. Dre’s long-public instances of violence against women, as well as the many women associated with Dre’s early work and L.A. hip-hop of the era in general.
Following public statements from both Dre and his ex-girlfriend Michel’le on his history of abuse, one of his other victims, Dee Barnes, has come forward with an extended essay on the topic at Gawker, discussing her long relationship with Dre and N.W.A, first as a musician and then as a journalist.
She alleges that Dre attacked her in a club bathroom following a less-than-flattering press clip—a press clip shot by Straight Outta Compton director F. Gary Gray. At the time, Barnes had her own hip-hop show on Fox called Pump It Up!, and a segment made more inflammatory by her producers had sparked the anger of Ice Cube and N.W.A (then split).
The full story is (obviously) worth a read, to see an important (and mostly untold) counternarrative to the film, as well as just get a glimpse of what their misogyny was like firsthand:
I wasn’t in the studio to hear them record their disgusting, misogynistic views on women in songs like “A Bitch Iz a Bitch,” “Findum, Fuckum & Flee,” “One Less Bitch,” and perhaps most offensively, “She Swallowed It.” (On that track, MC Ren brags about violating at 14-year-old girl: “Oh shit it’s the preacher’s daughter! / And she’s only 14 and a ho / But the bitch sucks dick like a specialized pro.”) I heard the material like everybody else, when I was listening to the albums, and I was shocked. Maybe that was their point. Maybe they said a lot of that stuff for the shock value. There were always other girls around, like Michel’le and Rose, and we never heard them talk like that. We never heard them say, “Bitch, get over here and suck my dick.”