Former N.W.A manager Jerry Heller is suing former clients Ice Cube and Dr. Dre for defamation, claiming that his portrayal in the film “Straight Outta Compton” was unfair, and that he didn’t give permission to use his likeness in the film.
Heller, who was portrayed by Paul Giamatti, is also suing NBC Universal and Eazy-E’s estate, among others. Heller is asking for at least $110 million in the complaint.
In the suit, Heller claims that he was painted as the “bad guy” who is “solely responsible for the demise of N.W.A” and “a sleazy manager who took advantage of … Eazy-E, Dr. Dre and Ice Cube.” He also claims that the film is “littered with false statements that harm the reputation of Plaintiff,” including that he withheld a check from Ice Cube, duped him and Dr. Dre into signing lousy contracts, and was canned by Eazy-E.
Heller says in the lawsuit that he hasn’t been compensated “in any way” for the use of his name or likeness.
Heller lists defamation, trade libel, misappropriation of likeness and other counts in the suit, which also names “Compton” director F. Gary Gray, Legendary Pictures and a host of others as defendants. He’s seeking monetary damages “believed to be not less that $35 million” and punitive and exemplary damages “believed not to be less than $75 million.”
This isn’t the first lawsuit to spring from “Straight Outta Compton.” In June, Suge Knight, Dr. Dre and Ice Cube were hit with a wrongful death lawsuit by the widow of Terry
Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.