Motor City Madness
The chart-topping native son had a court appointment to squeeze in between concert gigs, which were fraught with plenty of turmoil as well.
A controversial video clip used to introduce Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg was yanked from the show in Detroit July 6 and threatened the next night in Auburn Hills, where Dre was cited by police for “promoting pornography.”
Dre’s attorney says there are charges of civil rights violations to come over the censorship of the video clip at the center of the dispute.
Detroit and Auburn Hills police complained about the graphic nature of the video that has introduced Dre and Snoop Dogg’s set since the tour kicked off in San Diego in June. The sequence includes partially nude women and a robbery scene.
“The tapes were derogatory, they had explicit and pornographic scenes in them, and we didn’t want them to be aired in our city,” police spokesperson Sana Brikhl told the Detroit News.
City officials agreed with the police, and “basically, the city of Detroit deemed that the video not be shown” at the Joe Louis Arena concert, a promoter’s spokesperson told the paper.
A spokesman for Eminem told the Detroit News that city officials also insisted that the rapper clothe the blow-up dolls he has been using as props.
Detroit Mayor Dennis Archer and other city officials viewed the video at the Joe Louis Arena the afternoon of the show, a mayor’s spokesperson told the Detroit Free Press.
After seeing the clip, the city threatened to cut power to the stage and arrest organizers if the video was shown.
Tour officials gave in, having little time to file an injunction challenging the decision. An attorney for Dre announced on July 10 that he intends to file a civil rights lawsuit against the city of Detroit over the incident within the week.
There was time, however, to challenge a similar drama playing out over the next night’s gig in nearby Auburn Hills. This time, an indignant judge ruled in the tour’s favor.
Auburn Hills police called Up In Smoke organizers early June 7 and demanded the video be withheld from that night’s performance at the Palace, threatening arrests and charges of contributing to the delinquency of minors.
Promoters went to court that afternoon to request an injunction, clearing the way for the show and the offending video.
An attorney representing Auburn Hills suggested at that hearing that the city should have been allowed to view the tape and edit questionable scenes.
U.S. District Judge Nancy Edmonds quickly ruled against that notion.
“What makes you think you can edit content? Isn’t that classic censorship and prior restraint?” she rhetorically asked.
Despite the judge’s ruling, Auburn Hills police ticketed Dre on a misdemeanor charge of promoting porn.
Amid the turmoil over the video, Eminem appeared briefly as Marshall Bruce Mathers III in a Royal Oak, Mich., courtroom.
He waived a preliminary hearing on weapons and other charges stemming from a fight outside a Warren, Mich., bar and an altercation with an Insane Clown Posse associate in the parking lot of a Royal Oak audio store. The waiver sets the stage for a trial date to be set in a Macomb County, Mich., circuit court.