When Dee Barnes took to Gawker with her candid reactions to “Straight Outta Compton” and its omission of Dr. Dre’s assault on her, she might not have anticipated that Dre himself would make a public apology of a much stronger conviction than he’s made before—an apology that inspired very different responses from both Barnes and Michel’le, his ex-girlfriend and a singer who alleged long-term abuse from the Beats mogul.
In a statement to the New York Times last Friday, Dr. Dre did not address each of the individual allegations against him, but apologized for his pattern of behavior:
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.
Both Barnes and Michel’le publicly responded. Barnes returned to Gawker and openly accepted the apology on Monday, addressing the doubts that many had that it may have only been done for PR reasons. Barnes asserted that the public apology after two decades plus of “character assassination” from Dre and the rest of N.W.A., is important:
Bravo, Andre. Humility is true self-knowledge. … 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.
Michel’le, meanwhile, took to BBC Radio 5 yesterday to express dissatisfaction with a public apology that did not name names and said that she is owed a personal one, if any:
I don’t really think it’s a sincere apology. I didn’t ask for a public apology—if I asked for one at all—but I think if he’s going to apologize, he should do it individually.