Straight Outta Compton, while entertaining as hell, commits many sins of omission in its portrayal of NWA’s rise and fracture, the most talked about of which is probably Dr. Dre’s 1991 attack on journalist Dee Barnes. Barnes recently described the attack in a Gawker piece, detailing how it allegedly stemmed from a Pump It Up! segment Barnes hosted in which Ice Cube dissed NWA. Dre was mad at Barnes for supposedly making NWA “look like fools,” and slammed her head against a wall multiple times. Barnes says she was subsequently blackballed from entertainment journalism and still has migraines from the incident.
One of the most interesting bits of that story was Barnes’ revelation that the cameraman for that Pump It Up! segment had been none other than F. Gary Gray, the director of Straight Outta Compton. I don’t think that makes Gray in any way complicit in what happened to Barnes, but the fact that he made a movie in which a serial domestic abuser is portrayed as a sweet family man is much harder to excuse, even if it had to be that way to get Dre’s blessing (Dre was a producer on the film, after all). In fact, if anything, it just lends credibility to Barnes’ accusations that Dre was able to blackball her from working in media.
It turns out though, that a Dee Barnes scene was at one point included in Straight Outta Compton‘s script, as reported in the LA Times:
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.”