Stories by Vanessa Obioha
In a surprising turn, music mogul Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs swiftly settled a federal lawsuit filed by his former partner and R&B singer, Casandra Ventura, popularly known as Cassie. Ventura had accused Combs of rape and physical abuse spanning over a decade. The settlement, announced within a day of the lawsuit, brought an unexpected end to what could have been a dramatic and damaging trial for the influential figure.
While the details of the agreement remain undisclosed, both parties released statements expressing their desire to resolve the matter amicably.
Ventura stated “I have decided to resolve this matter amicably on terms that I have some level of control. I want to thank my family, fans and lawyers for their unwavering support.”
“We have decided to resolve this matter amicably. I wish Cassie and her family all the best. Love,” said Combs in a statement. The swift resolution prevented a potential legal storm for Combs, who faced a series of serious allegations. The internet has already been buzzing with video snippets hinting at a cycle of abuse linked to Combs, drawing attention to past incidents, mysterious deaths of those close to him like the late rapper Heavy D and actress Kim Porter, and controversies surrounding his music label such as the suspicious contract release of the girl group Danity Kane from his music label Bad Boy Records in 2009.
Ventura, in the lawsuit, alleged that Combs, prone to an uncontrollable rage, usually subjected her to beatings, plied her with drugs and made her have sex with male prostitutes while he filmed and masturbated.
The singer, famed for her single ‘Me & U,’ started a relationship with Combs in 2005 when she was 19, and he 37. The relationship which ended in 2018 followed a pattern of control and abuse and included a forced entry into her home in 2018 where he raped her.
“After years in silence and darkness,” she said in a statement after filing the lawsuit, “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.”
Combs through his lawyer Ben Brafman had vehemently denied the allegations claiming that Ventura has persistently demanded $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.”
But Ventura’s lawyer Douglas Wigdor responded in a statement that Combs offered Ventura eight figures to silence her and prevent the filing of the lawsuit.
The lawsuit detailed instances of Combs’ alleged control, including threats made towards rapper Kid Cudi and coercive acts of voyeurism.
According to Ventura, Combs grew so angry about her dating the rapper Kid Cudi in early 2012 that he said he would blow up the rapper’s car. “Around that time,” the suit said, “Kid Cudi’s car exploded in his driveway.”
One striking claim involved an incident in a Los Angeles Hotel in 2016 when, after one of his voyeurism encounters, an inebriated Combs allegedly punched Cassie in the face, leaving her with a black eye. She attempted to leave the room when he fell asleep but Combs woke up and followed her into the hallway, where he threw glass vases at her, sending glass shattering throughout the corridor. The hotel’s security cameras reportedly captured the incident, but the lawsuit implied that Combs paid $50,000 to suppress the footage.
An influential figure in the music industry in the U.S., Combs is revered by many for his role in commercialising hip-hop. He is one of the top billionaires in the music industry and also executive-produced Burna Boy’s Grammy award-winning album ‘Twice As Tall.’
While the lawsuit’s abrupt end prevented a legal showdown for Combs, it however left a dent in his reputation. It will take time for him and his team to navigate the aftermath and restore public perception.