Photo of Dr. Dre in 2015, by Kevin Winter/Getty
Amidst a flurry of praise for newly released N.W.A. biopic Straight Outta Compton and Dr. Dre's long-awaited album, rapper and former music journalist Dee Barnes is criticizing the film for not mentioning Dre's history of violence against women.
Barnes points specifically to a 1991 incident in which Dre allegedly attacked her and tried to throw her down a flight of stairs after she ran a segment on the Fox show Pump It Up!, depicting Ice Cube, who was feuding with N.W.A. at the time, as having insulted the group.
According to a statement Barnes' lawyer released after the encounter, Dre "began slamming her face and the right side of her body repeatedly against a wall near the stairway." After he failed to throw her down the stairs, Barnes said in the same statement that Dre kicked her until she escaped into a restroom, where she claimed he followed her and punched her in the back of the head.
"That event isn’t depicted in Straight Outta Compton," Barnes wrote in an op-ed for Gawker. "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."
Barnes says she remembers thinking during the attack, "Oh my god, he's trying to kill me." But Dre subsequently told Rolling Stone: “It ain’t no big thing—I just threw her through a door.”
Additionally, Barnes claims Straight Outta Compton director F. Gary Gray was her cameraman for the 1991 interview with Ice Cube that resulted in the alleged attack against her. And as Barnes put, he "doesn’t want to address it is because then he’d have to explain his part in history."
This latest criticism follows that of Dre's former fiancée Michel'le, whom the rapper has previously suggested he was abusive toward during their relationship in the '90s. When reacting to Straight Outta Compton's omission of the abuse she reportedly endured, Michel'le said during a recent interview: "Why would Dre put me in it? ... I was just a quiet girlfriend who got beat up and told to sit down and shut up."