Dr. Dre has issued a statement to The New York Times today amid the resurfaced assault allegations that have followed in the wake of the release of N.W.A. biopic Straight Outta Compton and Dre’s new album. The response was sparked by Dee Barnes’ Gawker essay from earlier in the week, in which the journalist and former Body & Soul member reflected on her 1991 assault by Dr. Dre, which was not depicted in the new film, but was apparently included in an earlier draft.
Here’s Dr. Dre’s full statement:
Twenty-five years ago I was a young man drinking too much and in over my head with no real structure in my life. However, none of this is an excuse for what I did. I’ve been married for 19 years and every day I’m working to be a better man for my family, seeking guidance along the way. I’m doing everything I can so I never resemble that man again.
I apologize to the women I’ve hurt. I deeply regret what I did and know that it has forever impacted all of our lives.
Here is a separate statement from Apple, where Dr. Dre has a prominent position as an Apple Music consultant:
Dre has apologized for the mistakes he’s made in the past and he’s said that he’s not the same person that he was 25 years ago. We believe his sincerity and after working with him for a year and a half, we have every reason to believe that he has changed.
The New York Times also talked to Barnes, Michel’le, and Tairrie B, Dr. Dre’s victims who have come forward. “I’ve been talking about my abuse for many, many years, but it has not gotten any ears until now,” Michel’le commented. Read the full article here.
UPDATE: In a follow-up piece for Gawker, Dee Barnes has responded to Dr. Dre’s apology:
I hope he meant it. I hope he represents these words in his life. I hope that after all these years, he really is a changed man.
Dr. Dre has matured, and the women he’s hurt, including myself, have endured. I’m proud to be able to say goodbye to the man who at one point was straight outta fucks to give, as he consistently dismissed and disrespected any mention of his assault history. Goodbye to the man who didn’t deny it and even bragged, “I just did it, you know. Ain’t nothing you can do now by talking about it. Besides, it ain’t no big thing — I just threw her through a door.”
Goodbye to a general public that accepted these indiscretions without so much as a second thought. When news of the apology broke, my social media feeds were immediately flooded with responses ranging from good to bad to ugly. I saw comments like, “That was the worst apology,” “Fake apology,” and, “He did not have the decency to state your names and do it face to face after all those years — that’s the least he could do.”
I understand people’s apprehension. The stakes are high now and money talks, loud. Is this is a PR move by Universal, which released Straight Outta Compton? After all, the film just crossed the $100 million mark its second weekend in theaters. Is it damage control by Apple, which can no longer ignore that if you take the “Beats by Dre” logo and remove the “S,” you get a double entendre describing several woman he just apologized to? Is Dre himself really remorseful or just saving face? To me, the answers to these questions matter less than the fact that Dre stepped up and performed his social responsibility by finally taking accountability for his actions. Who cares why he apologized? The point is that he did.
She concludes with this:
This is bigger than me, and bigger than hip-hop. This is about respect and awareness. As a result of speaking on my personal experience with violence, I have been vilified. Women survivors of violence are expected neither to be seen nor heard, and the pressure increases when it involves celebrities. No one wants to see their heroes criticized. And if they are African American, the community at large becomes suspicious of an underlying motive to tear down a successful black man. Excusing pop culture icons from scrutiny over their history of violence against women because they are elevated to “hero” status is wrong on so many levels. Creating notable, brilliant art does not absolve you of your faults. In the past, great art was enough to exalt men of their bad behavior, but in 2015 it’s no longer the case. Survivors have a right and an obligation to speak up (#NoSilenceOnDomesticViolence). We are too loud, too correct, too numerous to be ignored.
Read her full response here.