The makers of NWA biopic ‘Straight Outta Compton’ have dismissed claims of misrepresentation made by former manager Jerry Heller in his $110m defamation lawsuit.
Heller filed a suit last November alleging that F Gary Gray’s film portrays him as “sleazy” and greedy as well as using details from his memoirs without his consent.
Gray and the other defendants, which include former NWA members Ice Cube and Dr Dre, the biopic’s Oscar-nominated screenwriters and Universal studio, are now calling for the suit to be thrown out. They claim Heller’s legal threat is based on a “hodgepodge of conclusory allegations and subjective interpretations”.
The legal rebuttal reads: “The ‘Jerry Heller’ character in the film is not shown committing any improper or illegal actions, or even admitting that he had ever done anything improper,”
Rather, the film depicts criticisms articulated by others about plaintiff, which plaintiff’s own memoir concedes had been very publicly leveled against him… It is impossible to conceive of a serious docudrama exploring this history that would not depict these disputes, and the first amendment protects the right of film-makers to tell this story.”
Heller, who is played by actor Paul Giamatti, is depicted as a source of conflict between the rap group’s members in the film. The music industry mogul managed NWA throughout the late 80s and early 90s. Both Ice Cube and Dre accused Heller of breaking up the group in 1991, releasing diss tracks aimed at him.