“Straight Outta Compton,” the musical biopic about boundary-breaking rap group N.W.A., cleaned up at box offices this summer — and made some enemies along the way.
Jerry Heller, the group’s former manager, has filed a $110 million defamation lawsuit against multiple parties involved in the film’s production and distribution, including NBC Universal, former N.W.A. members Ice Cube and Dr. Dre, and Tomica Woods-Wright, widow of Eazy-E, also a founding member of the group.
Heller, who in his long career has represented artists like Journey, Ike and Tina Turner, and Marvin Gaye, expressed multiple frustrations with the way in which his character in “Straight Outta Compton” was portrayed. He lists a dozen charges against the film, in which he was played by Paul Giamatti, including defamation and misappropriation of character. Quoted in Tablet, Heller’s lawsuit asserts that “the film is littered with false statements that harm the reputation of (Heller) and aim to ridicule and lower him in the opinion of the community and to deter third persons from associating or dealing with him.”
Heller, in addition to contesting the way he was depicted in the film, claims that certain scenes in it were taken without permission from his memoir “Ruthless: A Memoir.” His full complaint can be accessed here.