In a statement to The New York Times Friday morning, Dr. Dre apologized for a pattern of misogyny and abusive behavior that emerged in the late '80s and early '90s, a time period that's attracted renewed interest in recent weeks. The allegations regarding Dre's behavior have bubbled up in the wake of both a successful new album, Compton — his first in 16 years — and the N.W.A biopic Straight Outta Compton, which chronicles Dre's rise to fame alongside contemporaries like Ice Cube and Eazy-E. Straight Outta Compton ignores Dre's abusive history, and the omission has triggered both a new level of scrutiny regarding Dre's behavior and the resulting widespread condemnation.
"Twenty-five years ago I was a young man drinking too much and in over my head with no real structure in my life," said Dre. "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."
"We have every reason to believe that he has changed." - Apple
Apple also released a statement regarding Dre's behavior, one merited by his work there as a top consultant on Apple Music. (The streaming service is built on work done by Dre's old company Beats, which Apple purchased last year.) "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," said Apple. "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 uproar over Dre's behavior was sparked by a late July Gawker essay titled "Remember When Dr. Dre Bashed a Female Journalist’s Face Against a Wall?" The essay detailed Dre's 1991 attack on journalist Denise "Dee" Barnes, an assault that was ostensibly retribution for an inflammatory TV segment Barnes aired in late 1990. (The story was reported on by major media at the time and Dre was charged, but it had otherwise been mostly stricken from the public record.) A few weeks later, Barnes wrote her own essay for Gawker, this one titled "Here's What's Missing From Straight Outta Compton: Me and the Other Women Dr. Dre Beat Up." Barnes wrote about her own assault at Dre's hands and his abuse of one-time girlfriend Michel'le and labelmate Tairrie B. Gawker affiliate Jezebel then revealed that Straight Outta Compton had originally contained a scene depicting Dre's attack on Barnes, one that was cut from its script during production.
"I made some fucking horrible mistakes in my life" - Dr. Dre
Dre's comments to The New York Times weren't his first attempt to address his abusive history. In a cover story interview with Rolling Stone published between Gawker's first essay and Barnes' follow-up, Dre was asked about the pattern of abuse. "I made some fucking horrible mistakes in my life," said Dre. "I was young, fucking stupid. I would say all the allegations aren't true – some of them are. Those are some of the things that I would like to take back. It was really fucked up. But I paid for those mistakes, and there's no way in hell that I will ever make another mistake like that again."