The rapper Sean Combs, known more commonly as P Diddy, Puff Daddy or Diddy, has been accused of over 15 years’ worth of physical, sexual and mental abuse by his ex-girlfriend, the American singer-songwriter Cassie. P Diddy denies all the allegations.
Combs, whose 1997 debut album No Way Out catapulted him onto the rap scene and eventually went on to be certified seven times platinum, is one of the biggest names in American hip hop. He got his start at Uptown Records, where he helped develop R&B legends like Mary J Blige and Jodeci, before pivoting into creating music himself, then later becoming a record label executive and producer.
In 1993, he set up his own record label, Bad Boy Entertainment, with talent from Uptown — such as then-newcomer, now-rap-royalty The Notorious B.I.G — helping the label to take off. Twelve years, three Grammys and two name changes later “Diddy” was introduced to the up and coming singer songwriter Cassie, when she was 19 and he was 37. Diddy signed Cassie to Bad Boy Entertainment shortly afterwards, in 2006, and the pair officially dated between 2012 and 2018.
But in a lawsuit filed on Thursday, Cassie — full name Casandra Elizabeth Ventura — details horrifying claims about how Combs allegedly treated her during their relationship, and outside of it, citing multiple years of sexual and physical abuse. Cassie, who is now 37, had a successful solo career of her own in the 2000s, with her debut studio album reaching top four on the Billboard 200. She claims, though, that her career was controlled by Combs, who paid for her car, housing and clothing and exercised his control over her abusively.
In her claim, she accuses Combs of regular abusive behaviour, including coercing her into taking drugs, forcing her to have sex with male prostitutes, and hitting her on numerous occasions. She also claims that one on occasion in 2019, he forced his way into her home and raped her as she “repeatedly said ‘no’ and tried to push him away.”
Combs and Ventura dated for six years publicly, but the allegations of abuse span nearly the entire time they knew each other. While Combs and Ventura never had children, Combs has fathered multiple children with other women, including the actress Kim Porter, who died in 2018. Combs’ previous romantic interests include other high profile names such as Jennifer Lopez, Cameron Diaz and rapper Yung Miami. After splitting from Combs, Ventura tied the knot with fitness trainer Alex Fine, with whom she has two children.
In response to Ventura’s suit, Combs’ lawyer Ben Brafman has said: “Mr. Combs vehemently denies these offensive and outrageous allegations. For the past six months, Mr. Combs has been subjected to Ms. Ventura’s persistent demand of $30 million, under the threat of writing a damaging book about their relationship, which was unequivocally rejected as blatant blackmail. Despite withdrawing her initial threat, Ms. Ventura has now resorted to filing a lawsuit riddled with baseless and outrageous lies, aiming to tarnish Mr. Combs’s reputation and seeking a payday.”
Here are the most concerning accusations from Cassie’s lawsuit.
1. Combs is accused of physically abusing Cassie multiple times
In the lawsuit, seen yesterday by the New York Times, Ventura claims to have endured multiple experiences of physical abuse at the hands of Sean Combs.
One incident detailed by Ventura claims that when Combs saw Ventura talking to another talent agent, he kicked her repeatedly in the face enough times to draw blood. The suit then alleges that Combs kept Ventura in a hotel room for a week to “recuperate”. When she asked to go to parties while she still had her injuries, Combs refused.
2. Cassie claims he sexually coerced her into having sex with prostitutes
After a few years of being in a relationship with Combs, Ventura’s lawsuit claims that he got her to “engage in a fantasy of his called ‘voyeurism,’” via coercion. Combs referred to these as “freak offs”, where Ventura would be told to have sex with multiple male prostitutes, while Combs watched, masturbated, took pictures and recorded the sex acts. Even when he claimed he deleted footage, Ventura claims that he would actually keep some of it. The “freak offs” would take place across a range of locations — from high end hotels to Combs’ various houses.
Ventura’s lawsuit explains that she took pre-provided drugs during the “freak offs” because they “allowed her to disassociate during these horrific encounters.”
3. He is accused of blowing up Kid Cudi’s car
According to the lawsuit, when Ventura dated Kid Cudi in 2012, Combs was so angry about it that he mentioned how he wanted to blow up the rapper’s car. “Around that time,” the lawsuit reads, “Kid Cudi’s car exploded in his driveway.” Kid Cudi himself approved this account via a spokeswoman, who confirmed that Kid Cudi had a car that exploded. “This is all true,” he said.
4. Combs allegedly had access to her medical records
One of the most alarming claims from Ventura’s lawsuit is the allegation that Combs had access to her private medical records.
According to the lawsuit, when Ventura underwent an MRI scan to attempt to explain her memory loss, which she alleges was possibly caused by drug use or by physical abuse from Combs, the results of the scan “went directly” to Combs.
5. He is accused of paying a hotel $50,000 for footage of him assaulting Ventura
During one “freak off” in 2016, Ventura claims that she tried to escape after she was punched in the face by Combs, giving her a black eye. Once Combs fell asleep, she says she tried to leave the room, but that he woke up and followed her into the hallway. Once in the hallway, Ventura claims Combs threw multiple glass vases at her, “sending glass shattering throughout the corridor.”
The court filing claims that the incident was captured on the hotel’s security cameras, but that Combs paid the hotel $50,000 for the footage.
6. She claims that he raped her in 2018
Though every allegation in Ventura’s lawsuit is harrowing, one that has cut through the noise the most is the claim that Combs forced his way into her home and raped her in 2018. According to the court filing, the incident occurred after the pair met for dinner, after which Combs forced his way into Ventura’s apartment and raped her as she “repeatedly said ‘no’ and tried to push him away.” The filing states that after this, Ventura left him for good.
Shortly after the pair parted ways, Ventura met her husband, Alex Fine, who she married in 2019 and now shares two children with.