HBO’s The Defiant Ones is tackling the legacy of legendary rapper Dr. Dre, but it’s also examining his dark moments, including him taking responsibility for his 1991 assault of female journalist Dee Barnes.
In Monday’s second of four parts, the documentary delved into a rough period in the N.W.A. alum’s life following the death of his brother and Ice Cube leaving the group. He admits to excessive drinking, which Barnes believes was a factor in him assaulting her over her reporting of the feud between Ice Cube and the remaining members of N.W.A.
“This was a very low point in my life,” said Dre. “I’ve done a lot of stupid s— in my life. A lot of things I wish I could go and take back. I’ve experienced abuse. I’ve watched my mother get abused. So there’s absolutely no excuse for it. No woman should ever be treated that way“
He continued, “Any man that puts his hands on a female is a f—ing idiot. He’s out of his f—ing mind, and I was out of my f—ing mind at the time. I f—ed up, I paid for it, I’m sorry for it, and I apologize for it. I have this dark cloud that follows me, and it’s going to be attached to me forever. It’s a major blemish on who I am as a man.”
The rapper pleaded no contest to misdemeanor battery in connection with the attack and Barnes sued for $22 million, with the case being settled out of court. The incident was notably absent from the 2015 big screen biopic Straight Outta Compton. The Defiant Ones not only addressed it but gave Barnes a platform to share her story.
“I called the police on Mr. F— the Police,” she said. “But little by little the work started drying up. It was as if I had ruined his career by being that disturbing footnote in his legacy.”