At a hearing in Los Angeles yesterday (March 28), U.S. District Judge Michael W. Fitzgerald commented on the $110 million lawsuit Jerry Heller has filed against the filmmakers of Straight Outta Compton, the 2015 biopic on N.W.A, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
“Mr. Heller is clearly a sophisticated and wealthy man,” Fitzgerald said. “He’s written this book. They’ve made this movie … in the ’80s, as an old white guy, I was aware of N.W.A. As the case goes forward, Mr. Heller is going to have some real trouble here.”
The judge is referring to Ruthless, Heller’s 2007 book in which he discusses, in part, his time at Ruthless Records with Eazy-E and N.W.A as the company and its artists rose to prominence. The topics discussed in the book overlap with those portrayed in the movie.
Given that Heller “is very much a public figure,” according to the Fitzgerald, it may make his defamations claims more difficult to prove, as he would have to show that the filmmakers knowingly and blatantly disregarded the truth in their portrayal of him.
(The original story in this thread was published October 30, 2015. It is as follows.)
Jerry Heller, who worked as an executive with Eazy-E at his Ruthless Records in the 1980s and 1990s and helped N.W.A rise to multi-platinum success, is suing the producers of the Straight Outta Compton film for $110 million, according to TMZ.
Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, the estate of Eazy-E and NBC Universal are among those named in the suit, which claims that Heller was damaged by the false way he was depicted in the film.
Portrayed as “a sleazy manager who took advantage of Eazy-E, Dr. Dre and Ice Cube,” the suit claims that Heller was not fired by Eazy-E and did not withhold a $75,000 check from Ice Cube, as was depicted in the film, which grossed more than $161 million at the domestic box office, according to Box Office Mojo.
Heller’s suit seeks $75 million in punitive damages, $35 million in compensatory funds and all the profits from the film, whose budget was approximately $28 million.
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