Gerald E. Heller, former manager of N.W.A., sued NBC Universal for defamation due to his negative portrayal in Straight Outta Compton.
Words: Alina Kay, Subeditor: Lauren Burgess
Music producer Gerald E. Heller filed a lawsuit last Friday against several individuals involved in the production of the highly successful film about rap group N.W.A. Straight Outta Compton. He asked for $35m in damages, in addition to $75m punitive damages.
The New York Times reported that the film also breached a “non-disparagement agreement with one of the film’s producers and an oral contract under which he helped with early drafts of the movie”.
No matter how many people the members of N.W.A. hurt and killed in the film, Gerry (Paul Giamatti) is depicted as the bad guy and the one to blame for the breakup of the group. It remains to be seen whether the court agrees.
Considering the film made just under $200m worldwide, and the production costs were as little as $28m, NBC should be able to pay Heller off. It’s a pity that the conflicts portrayed in the film continue today.