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Apple stands by Dre after apology for hurting women

After the rapper became an Apple employee following its $3.3 billion takeover of Beats, attention to his past violence has become the latest barb against the tech industry's treatment of women.

Apple spoke out Friday in support of employee Dr. Dre after the famous rapper apologized for past violence against women, the first time the technology giant publicly addressed his attacks as a younger man.

"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," Apple said in a statement to The New York Times. "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."

An Apple representative referred to those statements when asked for any additional comment.

Dr. Dre and Beats cofounder Jimmy Iovine joined Apple last year when the company acquired the headphone maker. Apple

Dre's violent past has become part of a cultural conversation as the film "Straight Outta Compton" -- depicting him as a young rapper -- has been criticized for glossing over his attacks against women during that time. But for Apple, it's a new thorn in the complaint that the decks are stacked against women in tech industry. It follows a series of diversity reports showing a preponderance of white, male employees and executives at tech companies, including Apple, as well as a high-profile sex discrimination trial against Silicon Valley venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.

Dre, whose birth name is Andre Young, became an Apple employee when the company paid $3.3 billion last year to acquire Beats, the headphone company he founded with recording executive Jimmy Iovine.

His past violence against women came to the fore in the last week after Dee Barnes published an essay recounting how Dre attacked her in 1991 and noting the absence of her story -- as well as those of other women who claim they were victims of Dre -- from the biopic "Straight Outta Compton." Dre pleaded no contest to charges linked to his assault against Barnes, and he settled a civil suit with Barnes out of court.

"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," Dre said in his statement Friday. "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."