Suge Knight cuts a menacing figure, so it should come to no surprise that the incarcerated former Death Row Records boss would have people terrified to cross his warpath. Straight Outta Compton director F. Gary Gray was reportedly a victim of one of Knight’s bullying threats, and a new report from the Los Angeles Times suggests that the director lived in fear for his life.
The Times examined transcripts from a grand jury hearing from earlier this year, releasing the documents on Friday. In the court records, Knight reached out to Gray, apparently angered at how he was depicted in the N.W.A. biopic. Further, Knight was pressing Gray to get paid and the tension between the pair grew after a violent threat sent via text message.
From the Times:
“I will see u in person … u have kids just like me so let’s play hardball,” Knight, 52, wrote, ending the message with a pair of expletives and a racial slur, according to court records.
The messages left Gray so shaken that he spent nearly two days dodging questions about the incident during a grand jury hearing earlier this year, according to transcripts made public for the first time on Friday afternoon.
During the hearing, Gray repeatedly claimed he could not remember anything about the messages, according to a copy of the transcripts reviewed by The Times. At one point, Gray seemed to have difficulty even recalling details about the film he’d directed, which was nominated for an Academy Award and received numerous other film tributes.
The director’s testimony — or lack of it — illustrated the level of fear Knight had instilled in Gray, Deputy Dist. Atty. Cynthia Barnes told the grand jury.
“He’s so afraid he came in here and lied under oath,” Barnes said. “He’s perjuring himself because he’s that afraid.”
Jurors indicted Knight on a charge of a death threat or great bodily injury after the February hearing was held. This had no immediate impact on Knight’s pending homicide and robbery cases.