Dr. Dre

Dr. Dre Apologizes to the ‘Women I’ve Hurt’


For Dr. Dre, this summer was meant to be a victory lap in a successful career. “Straight Outta Compton,” a biopic about his hip-hop group, N.W.A., topped the box office last week with a $56.1 million opening. “Compton,” his first album in 16 years, debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard chart. Last year, the music company that Dr. Dre helped establish, Beats, was sold to Apple for $3 billion, making him the self-proclaimed “first billionaire in hip-hop.”
But critics charge that the movie, which was co-produced by Dr. Dre, glosses over N.W.A.’s record of misogyny and ignores Dr. Dre’s history of physically abusing women. In a sign that the uproar was threatening not only his reputation but also his business dealings, Dr. Dre, who has previously spoken dismissively or vaguely about the decades-old episodes, confronted them on Friday in a statement to The New York Times. While he did not address each allegation individually, he said: “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.”
He added: “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.”
Apple, where Dr. Dre, 50, now works as a top consultant, also issued a statement: “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.”
This is the latest case of a celebrity who, partly because of the Internet, has been forced to face old abuse allegations. And for the accusers, Dr. Dre’s statement may be an acknowledgment of what they said decades ago.
In interviews with The Times this week, the women at the center of the allegations — the hip-hop journalist Dee Barnes; Michel’le, an R&B singer and Dr. Dre’s former girlfriend; and Tairrie B, a onetime labelmate — spoke about the abuse and about how social media had helped them connect and spread their stories.
“I’ve been talking about my abuse for many, many years, but it has not gotten any ears until now,” said Michel’le, who was romantically involved with Dr. Dre from the late-’80s until the mid-’90s. (They have an adult son.)
During that time, she said, he was often physically abusive, hitting her with a closed fist and leaving “black eyes, a cracked rib and scars.” Michel’le said she never pressed charges because, “We don’t get that kind of education in my culture.”
She added, “Opening up and finding out there were other women like me gave me the power to speak up.”