Renowned music producer and hip-hop mogul Sean Combs, popularly known as Puff Daddy and Diddy, faces a federal lawsuit filed by Cassie, an R&B singer who was once signed to his label. In the lawsuit, filed in the Federal District Court in Manhattan, Cassie, whose real name is Casandra Ventura, accuses Combs of rape and a pattern of physical abuse spanning around a decade.
According to the lawsuit, Cassie, who was romantically involved with Combs, alleges that the abuse began not long after they met in 2005 when she was 19 years old. The suit outlines a disturbing pattern of control and abuse, including accusations of Combs supplying her with drugs, physically assaulting her, and coercing her into engaging in sexual activities with male prostitutes while he filmed the encounters. In 2018, the lawsuit claims that Combs forcibly entered her home and raped her.
The lawsuit also revealed that the parties had engaged in discussions before the legal filing. According to Douglas Wigdor, Cassie’s lawyer, Combs offered her a substantial amount to prevent the lawsuit, but she declined his efforts.
This case is part of a series of recent sexual assault civil suits targeting prominent figures in the music industry, including Steven Tyler, L.A. Reid, and Neil Portnow. Combs, 54, who founded Bad Boy in 1993, played a pivotal role in the commercialization of hip-hop, working with iconic artists like the Notorious B.I.G. and Mary J. Blige. His net worth is estimated to be as high as $1 billion, and his annual earnings were reported at $90 million in 2022, mainly from his former partnership in the liquor brand Ciroc.
The lawsuit paints a contrasting image of Combs, alleging a violent persona beyond the public eye. It suggests that Combs not only physically assaulted Cassie but also asked her to carry his gun, and, in one incident, dangled a friend of hers over a 17th-floor hotel balcony. The court documents also implicate others associated with Combs in helping him control Cassie and conceal his behavior.
Cassie’s lawsuit seeks unspecified damages and cites sexual battery, sexual assault, and violations of New York City’s gender-motivated violence law. The court filing suggests that Cassie was a victim of sex trafficking due to the sexual encounters orchestrated by Combs with male prostitutes.
The lawsuit details the coercive control Combs allegedly exercised over Cassie, controlling various aspects of her life, including her career, finances, and even access to her medical records. It claims that Combs supplied her with drugs, urging her to consume them. The suit alleges that Cassie endured physical abuse multiple times each year, fearing that involving law enforcement would only give Combs another reason to harm her.
The legal filing provides specific incidents of violence, including one in 2009 when Combs allegedly kicked Cassie in the face, causing bleeding, and then had his staff bring her to a hotel room for recovery. The suit asserts that Cassie was often isolated from her support network, and attempts to leave were met with efforts by Combs to lure her back.
The lawsuit also claims that Combs orchestrated violent acts, such as blowing up the car of a rival suitor, as part of his alleged controlling and abusive behavior. The court documents suggest that Combs offered Cassie eight figures to prevent the lawsuit, highlighting his efforts to keep the allegations private.
Cassie’s case is brought under the Adult Survivors Act, a New York law allowing individuals to file civil suits for sexual abuse after the expiration of the statute of limitations. The one-year window to file cases under this law is closing soon.
In her statement, Cassie emphasized the importance of speaking out, especially with the expiration of New York’s Adult Survivors Act approaching. The lawsuit sheds light on a troubling aspect of the music industry, further fueling conversations around the need for accountability and addressing abuse within the entertainment business.