Former N.W.A. manager sues over ‘Straight Outta Compton’ portrayal

Photo credit: Universal Pictures
Photo credit: Universal Pictures

Jerry Heller, former manager of the group N.W.A, is suing over his portrayal in the hit movie Straight Outta Compton. Heller filed a $110 million defamation lawsuit on Friday, October 30, 2015 against the producers and other parties involved in the film. Heller is alleging misappropriation of likeness, tortuous interference, breach of a settlement agreement and copyright infringement. Heller, who was portrayed by actor Paul Giamatti, disputes claims that he was responsible for the breakup of N.W.A. as portrayed in the film.  In addition, he asserts the following:

  • He did not withhold a $75,000 from rapper Ice Cube
  • He was never fired by Easy E
  • He did not consent to use of his name or likeness in the film
  • He did not mislead N.W.A from seeking an attorney in contract negotiations
  • Breach of a 1999 non-disparagement clause between the estate of Easy E and Heller. The clause states that parties connected to Easy E “shall not make any statements, directly or indirectly in writing, orally, or in any other form, which disparage in any way the other.”
  • The film had blatantly lifted, converted and stole from a 2006 book Heller wrote about N.W.A as well as screenplays he owned about the group.

The lawsuit involves NBC/Universal, Legendary Pictures, Comptown Records, film director F. Gary Gray, Ice Cube, Dr. Dre and many others connected to the film. The court documents can viewed by click the link Jerry Heller Documents

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