by E. Parker
N.W.A manager, Jerry Heller, figures prominently in the biopic Straight Outta Compton and has since filed a lawsuit in which he claims he was unfairly represented.
In a recently published interview with Rolling Stone, Heller reveals what it was that ticked him off and pushed him to take action. Here are the five glaring Straight Outta Compton inaccuracies, according to Heller.
1. EAZY-E DIDN’T GET BEAT DOWN The opening scene shows Eazy slipping in a drug deal. While Heller doesn’t say he was there as a witness, he finds the scene incredible. “The film started off with Eazy getting beat up,” he says. “That’s a joke. You’re going to tell me that Eazy got beat up? That’s ridiculous. So right from the get-go, I said, ‘Whoa, this is going to a weird place.'”
2. ICE CUBE GOT PAID In the film, there is a scene in which Ice Cube is called into a room by Heller and asked to sign a contract. When Ice Cube refuses, Heller pulls back a check that was intended for Cube. Heller says that scene represented only a partial truth.
The deal was structured so that Ruthless got a little off the top, and the band split the rest equally. So they split $375,000 five ways, which is $75,000 apiece. That was an astronomical amount of money, and everybody signed their contracts except for Ice Cube.
He said, “I want my lawyer,” and I told the rest of the guys, “Do you want to take it to a lawyer?” “No, no, no. Just give us the checks.” So Ice Cube said, “I want my lawyer to read it.” I said, “Yeah, absolutely.” … Ice Cube said, “Give me my check.” I said, “Listen, give [your lawyer] Lee Young the contracts,” and I handed him the contracts. I said, “When Lee Young makes his comments and we agreed on whatever we said, then I will send Lee Young your check. You can’t expect Eazy-E to give somebody a check and the guy doesn’t sign the contract.” So for him to say that I withheld the check, that’s just being clever. Did I not give him the check? Yes. Did he sign the contract? No. Did he take them to his lawyer? Yes. And that’s the way things were. I find nothing wrong with that. That’s the way business is.
3. NEVER HAD LOBSTER In the film, Cube approached Heller to discuss money while Eazy and Heller were enjoying a lobster brunch. Heller says, “I don’t eat brunch or lunch. I have never had a lobster brunch in my life… So once again, it’s just trying to make me look bad. That’s all.”
4. NO VASELINE, NO TRUTH When Heller listened to Ice Cube’s scathing anti-N.W.A song “No Vaseline” (which he recorded after leaving the group) on screen, he was surrounded by N.W.A members and he went ballistic. Heller says that’s all Hollywood spin. “I didn’t take that [scene] seriously. I actually heard the song first in Bryan Turner’s office. In the original lyrics, he had my name in there. And I said to Bryan, are you going to put this out, man? And I guess he talked to Cube and they just took my name out of it, but there is no question of who it is about. But no, none of us ever listened to it together.”
5. NEVER GOT FIRED Lastly, Eazy never came around to ditching Heller, as depicted in the final scenes of the film. “That’s totally not true. I can prove it, and it will be proved in court by a number of people. I was with him until the day of his untimely death. I still think about him every day. He was like my son. He was a visionary. He was the greatest, and I’ve always believed that only he and I really understood the significance of what N.W.A was. The rest of the guys were like, ‘Hey, we’re going to be a big group, and we’re going to make money.'”
Check out the complete interview here.