Former N.W.A manager Jerry Heller is suing Ice Cube and Dr. Dre, among other producers, and director F. Gary Gray for defamation over his portrayal in “Straight Outta Compton,” Variety has confirmed.
The $110 million lawsuit, first obtained by TMZ, also names Eazy-E’s estate, NBCUniversal, Legendary Pictures, Comptown Records and the biopic’s screenwriters as defendants.
Heller is suing for $35 million in monetary damages, $75 million in exemplary damages and restitution of profits from the summer blockbuster, which hauled $199.6 million worldwide. The civil suit, filed on Friday in Los Angeles, also claims trade libel, false light, breach of oral contract and intentional interference with a prospective economic advantage.
Heller’s lawyer, Michael R. Shapiro, said actor Paul Giamatti’s depiction of the N.W.A music manager is damaging to his reputation.
“Untrue statements in the movie made Heller look like a dishonest, sleazy guy; that he was in effect responsible for the group breaking up,” Shapiro told Variety.
In the suit, Heller takes issue with his portrayal as a “greedy, selfish personal manager that took advantage of the members of N.W.A.”
Shapiro also said the film used Heller’s name and likeness, as well as material from his 2006 book, without his consent. He said the film even includes incidents that are “100 not true,” such as the fact that Eazy-E, who died in 1995, fired Heller because of “financial shenanigans.”
Other “lies” Heller cites in the lawsuit include that he withheld a $75,000 check from Ice Cube and fraudulently convinced Dr. Dre and Ice Cube to sign unfavorable contracts.
A NBCUniversal spokesperson and Ice Cube’s reps refused to comment on the lawsuit. Dr. Dre’s attorney didn’t respond to a request for comment.
Got the drop on Variety . . .