The original manager for N.W.A (Niggaz Wit Attitudes), Jerry Heller is unhappy with his portrayal in the new movie, Straight Outta Compton, and he is suing them all. Heller claims the depiction of his relationship with N.W.A comes across negatively to the audience and he is offended. He was there working for them and helped the rap group make it to the top nationwide, once he signed a deal for the group with Wright in the ‘80s.
Heller, a former executive for Ruthless Records, filed a lawsuit against the director, F. Gary Gray, Eazy-E’s estate, Ice Cube, Dr. Dre, Legendary Pictures, NBC/Universal, Compton Records, and whoever else was involved in the making of Straight Outta Compton. Heller is asking for $110 million, and apparently, this was his plan before Straight Outta Compton was released, according to Classicalite.
Heller stated he planned to see Straight Outta Compton its release date, Aug. 14, with his lawyer in the front row of the theater. They were going to watch carefully, for accuracy. Heller said the film is not on point. He had not been consulted during the preparation or making of Straight Outta Compton. He says the producers should have conferred with him because he played an important role in the movie, as well as in the success of the N.W.A.
Heller claims there are events in the movie that did not occur. For instance, he was not fired by Eazy-E, he did not withhold $75,000 from Ice Cube, or prevent N.W.A from retaining an attorney to negotiate contracts. He claims the producers of Straight Outta Compton used prominent parts of his book and several scripts he had written about the rap group, without permission. The plagiarism includes the scene where Eazy-E is coerced by Suge Knight into signing his rights to Death Row Records away. Also, regardless of the accounts of Dr. Dre and Ice Cube, Heller was not the reason for the breakup of N.W.A.
Straight Outta Compton has banked $199,589,672 worldwide as of Nov. 1, according to Forbes. Heller is asking for $110 million in his argument for defamation of character. The lawsuit, filed on Oct. 30, 2015, alleges “tortuous interference, misappropriation of likeness, breach of settlement agreement, and copyright infringement,” as read on Rollingout’s website.
According to Classicalite, there is a rumor he might sue for movie profits from Straight Outta Compton. After all, the greater the film’s success, the more damage to Heller’s image.
Rollingout reports a non-disparagement clause was established between Heller and Eazy E’s estate in 1999. The clause states all those connected to Eazy-E “shall not make any statements, directly or indirectly in writing, orally, or in any other form, which disparage in any way the other.”
In August, Straight Outta Compton rocked the box office ranking number one for two weeks in a row. This won N.W.A the highest-grossing all-time musical biopic, according to Forbes. The movie’s opening made $60.2 million. The momentum came from a creative marketing scheme, which was able to tap into a culture that united millions and relived the key components of N.W.A’s movement on the big screen.
Forbes reported that the accuracy of the film and its portrayal of specific key characters have been questioned since the release of the movie. Heller was noted to be the root of contention and corruption within the N.W.A. This was through the mishandling of the business dealings for the rap group. This representation of him in the movie, Straight Outta Compton, has corrupted his image and caused permanent devastation to him professionally as well as personally.
By Jeanette Smith
Edited by Leigh Haugh
Classicalite: ‘Straight Outta Compton’ Sued for Defamation
Forbes: Jerry Heller Fires Back at ‘Straight Outta Compton’ by Filing $110MM Defamation Lawsuit
Rollingout: Former N.W.A Manager Sues Over ‘Straight Outta Compton’ Portrayal
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