‘I was out of my fucking mind at the time,’ the hip hop producer says of the 1991 incident that was absent from the NWA biopic
Dr. Dre has discussed his assault on journalist Dee Barnes in The Defiant Ones, a new HBO documentary exploring the producer and rapper’s relationship with Beats co-founder Jimmy Iovine.
In 1991, Dre attacked Pump It Up host Barnes at an LA nightclub. Barnes described the assault to Rolling Stone in 1991, claiming that Dre picked her up and “began slamming her face and the right side of her body repeatedly against a wall near the stairway” as his bodyguard held off a crowd.
As TMZ report, Dre addresses the assault directly in The Defiant Ones, describing it as “a major blemish on who I am as a man” and giving strong words against domestic violence. “Any man that puts his hands on a female is a fucking idiot,” he says. “He’s out of his fucking mind, and I was out of my fucking mind at the time. I fucked up, I paid for it, I’m sorry for it, I apologize for it.”
Following the attack, Dre pleaded no contest to misdemeanor battery and settled out of court with Barnes after she sued for $22 million. However, the case was notably absent from the 2015 NWA biopic Straight Outta Compton. Shortly after the film’s release, Dre wrote an apology in the New York Times: “Twenty-five years ago I was a young man drinking too much and in over my head with no real structure in my life. However, none of this is an excuse for what I did... I apologize to the women I’ve hurt. I deeply regret what I did and know that it has forever impacted all of our lives.”
Barnes penned an op-ed for Gawker in response, writing, “This is bigger than me, and bigger than hip hop. This is about respect.”