The omitted Straight Outta Compton scene of Dr. Dre beating television host Dee Barnes has been found.
In a new L.A. Times story, Gerrick Kennedy reports that the missing depiction was included in screenwriter Jonathan Herman’s initial draft.
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.”
This scene echoes what Barnes wrote of the incident herself earlier this week on Gawker:
It was so caustic that when Dre was trying to choke me on the floor of the women’s room in Po Na Na Souk, a thought flashed through my head: “Oh my god. He’s trying to kill me.” He had me trapped in that bathroom; he held the door closed with his leg. It was surreal. “Is this happening?” I thought.
The unfolding of Dr. Dre’s legacy of abuse has been a macabre thing to watch. For hip-hop fans, it was an open secret that he put hands on Barnes, rapper Tairrie B and singer Michel’le, but in the run-up to the film, mainstream media conveniently omitted these instances from interviews and reviews of the film, which has been critically praised and topped the box office its opening weekend. However, little by little, bits and pieces of what really happened and who Dr. Dre really is began to seep out and the facts became harder to ignore.
There was Dr. Dre’s non-comment comment about his history of abuse in Rolling Stone, in which he accused some of his accusers of lying.
Dre addresses the 1991 incident when he assaulted TV host Dee Barnes, as well as recent charges of physical abuse by his Nineties girlfriend Michel’le.
“I made some fucking horrible mistakes in my life,” says Dre. “I was young, fucking 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 fucked up. But I paid for those mistakes, and there’s no way in hell that I will ever make another mistake like that again.”
Then there was Straight Outta Compton director F. Gary Gray who mistreated New York Magazine’s Allison P. Davis during an interview when she asked why women were such marginalized and mistreated characters in the film, specifically in a scene which included the Friday movie line-cum-internet meme “Bye, Felicia.” Here’s the film’s scene:
A young Dr. Dre is in his room while a party rages in the crew’s hotel suite. Suddenly, two armed men start pounding on the door — one of them is looking for his girl, Felicia. Dre slams the door, walks into the next room looking for Felicia, whom he finds fellating Eazy-E. Ice Cube, Dre, and Eazy-E grab some guns, reopen the door to confront the two intruders, and inform them that Felicia was too busy sucking someone else’s dick to come to the door. After the two intruders run down the hall, Eazy-E grabs Felicia — who is wearing nothing but a hot-pink thong — and pushes her out into the hotel corridor by the head. As the door slams, Ice Cube deploys the very first “Bye, Felicia.”
Here’s what Gray, who Barnes accuses of helping to blackball her from the entertainment industry despite being the original cameraman on her Pump It Up TV show, said to Davis:
I asked Gray how, as a director, he was able to reconcile the fun pop-culture reference with a moment of degradation. “I wouldn’t try to reconcile it at all,” he said. “If you’re looking to be politically correct in entertainment, especially as it relates to comedy, that’s the end of entertainment. If people want us to make entertainment in a certain way, you tell me how we should have shot the scene.”
I said I didn’t know and he went on, “That’s just an awful question. You know. It’s like, if Oprah says it’s a powerful movie, and we know how she feels about how women are depicted in film and entertainment and things like that — I feel like you’re digging. We should be focusing on how the police are treating innocent American citizens. What about that? Let’s talk about something as important, if not more important, if you really want to go there.”
Barnes uploaded the original MTV News report on Dre’s attack on her, in which NWA’s lawyer told reporter Tabitha Soren, “I know Dr. Dre as a gentle soul and a loving father of a baby boy. I can’t imagine him treating any lady in anything but a gentlemanly fashion.” This statement is juxtaposed with MC Ren talking about Barnes’ beating: “That’s what she get and I hope she gets it again,” he said. “She got beat down.”
When the rumblings of this film began, a friend asked me if I thought Dr. Dre would be called out for his past and I said, “Not if he admits it head on.” But instead, Dre’s acting like he did in the 1980s, as though the women he allegedly threw into walls, choked at parties full of on-lookers and beat so badly they needed reconstructive surgery aren’t around to tell their side of the tales. Or maybe he was hoping that, like America does in so many other instances, that popular culture just wouldn’t believe his victims because they’re women.
Contact the author at Hillary@jezebel.com.
Image via Getty.