Content warning: This article contains information relating to sexual assault
R&B singer Cassie is suing Sean "Diddy" Combs in federal court, and has made allegations against him of sexual and physical abuse.
The lawsuit, filed in New York, names Diddy as a defendant, in addition to Epic Records, Bad Boy Entertainment, Bad Boy Records LLC, Combs Enterprises LLC, and 10 "Doe Corporations".
In the lawsuit, Cassie, real name Casandra Elizabeth Ventura, says she met Diddy in 2005 or 2006 when she was 19 years old and he was 37. "Within months, in February 2006, Ms. Ventura signed a ten-album deal with Mr. Combs's record label," the lawsuit says. Having signed the deal, Cassie says she "was quickly thrust into the spotlight, and was unfamiliar with how to navigate her new celebrity status"/
The lawsuit adds that "Mr. Combs' recognition and glorification of Ms. Ventura's naivete proved to set the groundwork for his manipulative and coercive romantic and sexual relationship with Ms. Ventura, a woman nearly two decades his junior. Within a year of signing with Bad Boy Records, Mr. Combs became deeply entrenched in Ms. Ventura's life, almost immediately asserting possession and control over her, and inserting himself into all aspects of her career and her personal life."
Claims against Combs in the lawsuit include the allegation that having invited himself to Cassie's 21st birthday party, Diddy pulled her into a bathroom and "forcibly" kissed her without consent. In 2010, the lawsuit claims, Diddy had control over Cassie's housing, transportation, holidays, clothing and other matters related to finances. "All aspects of Ms. Ventura’s life were controlled by either Mr. Combs or his management companies," the lawsuit alleges.
Further claims included in the lawsuit relate to drugs. On one instance in 2007, Cassie "felt she could not refuse Mr. Combs' urging her to take more drugs," the lawsuit alleges. It also claims that Diddy was addicted to prescription drugs and "when Mr. Combs exhausted his supply of pills, he demanded that Ms. Ventura procure prescriptions from [a] Miami doctor in her own name".
Cassie also alleges that Diddy physically assaulted her "multiple times each year", sometimes leaving bruises on her body. One alleged incident in January 2009 happened after Diddy learned that Cassie had spoken to another music manager in an effort to advance her career. Diddy is accused in the lawsuit of pulling the artist out of a club that they were at and then "stomping on her face" in a car. She says the event left her "terrified, isolated, and unable to see a pathway out of Mr. Combs' abusive hold on her life".
When she cut ties with Diddy in 2011, Cassie started a short relationship with Kid Cudi. The lawsuit claims that, in February 2012, Diddy told Cassie that he was going to blow up Kid Cudi's car, and Cudi's car exploded in his driveway around that time. Kid Cudi has corroborated Cassie’s account of events to The New York Times via a spokesperson, saying: "this is all true".
Cassie is suing Diddy for sexual assault, sex trafficking, battery and more. The rapper "vehemently denies" the allegations and issued a response statement via his attorney, Ben Brafman, calling the allegations "offensive and outrageous".
The statement continues: "For the past 6 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' reputation and seeking a pay day."
Cassie shared her own statement with Pitchfork, which reads: "After years in silence and darkness, I am finally ready to tell my story, and to speak up on behalf of myself and for the benefit of other women who face violence and abuse in their relationships. With the expiration of New York's Adult Survivors Act fast approaching, it became clear that this was an opportunity to speak up about the trauma I have experienced and that I will be recovering from for the rest of my life."
Her attorney, Douglas H. Wigdor, added: "Mr. Combs offered Ms. Ventura eight figures to silence her and prevent the filing of this lawsuit. She rejected his efforts and decided to give a voice to all woman who suffer in silence. Ms. Ventura should be applauded for her bravery."