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Former NWA manager sues over movie portrayal

By | Published on Monday 2 November 2015


NWA’s former manager Jerry Heller would like everyone to know that he’s not a “bad guy”. And he is communicating this through a $110 million lawsuit.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Heller is suing pretty much everyone involved in the recent NWA biopic ‘Straight Outta Compton’ over his portrayal in the film. Ice Cube, Dr Dre, the estate of the late Eazy E, director F Gary Gray and the producers of the movie are among the defendants being targeted for $110 million in damages.

As well as defamation, Heller claims misappropriation of likeness, tortious interference, breach of a settlement agreement and copyright infringement.

The allegedly breached settlement is one he reached with NWA in 1999 in which, his lawsuit says, the group agreed not to make disparaging statements against him. Meanwhile, the copyright infringement charge relates to the screenplay of the film, which he claims is based on earlier drafts of scripts upon which he worked.

The lawsuit then says that Heller is unfairly portrayed as the “bad guy” in the film – “a sleazy manager who took advantage of … Eazy E, Dr Dre and Ice Cube” – and who acted in a way that would stop them from being paid money they were owed.

He also denies that he was “enjoying ‘lobster brunches’ while the contracts of Dr Dre and Ice Cube were ‘still being finalised'” and that he was “fired by Eazy E”.

The defendants are reportedly expected to challenge the lawsuit under the United States’ First Amendment provisions for freedom of speech.