Hip-hop artist Dr. Dre’s controversial and storied past was bound to become an issue for Apple at some point after it bought the company he co-founded for $3 billion last year. Now Apple is hoping it can let the rapper’s history live in the past, which is especially tricky as it promotes the biofilm “Compton” depicting the rapper’s entrance into fame.
The biographical film, which was produced with close cooperation from Dr. Dre, has been criticized for omitting decades old allegations that the artist physically abused women. Today both Dr. Dre and Apple released statements addressing the controversy, Dre saying that he deeply apologizes for his actions 25 years ago and adding that “it has forever impacted all of our lives” while Apple said that “we have every reason to believe that he has changed.”
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“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.”
An Apple spokesperson added:
“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 statements are rather awkward for Apple for multiple reasons. Apple Music has used the film “Compton” and Dr. Dre’s accompanying record, which is carried exclusively, to heavily promote Beats 1 and the music subscription service. Apple has even commissioned a limited edition model of Solo2 + Studio Wireless headphones with ‘Straight Outta Compton’ branding to mark the film’s release.
While the film sparked the controversy that eventually caused Apple to address Dre’s past, the record itself contains a highly graphic fictional skit during a track titled “Loose Canon” depicting an argument between a male and female that ends with the woman screaming and gun shots.
Still, Apple has used Dr. Dre’s album, the first in 15 years, to show Apple Music’s weight as a streaming music service that can deliver exclusive content to fans. According to Apple, Dr. Dre’s record was streamed some 25 million times during the first week alone.