Sean “Diddy” Combs, Casandra Elizabeth “Cassie” Ventura (Getty Images)
Note: This article contains references to alleged sexual and physical assault that some readers may find disturbing.
The R&B and pop singer Cassie is suing Sean “Diddy” Combs in federal court and accusing the rapper and hip-hop mogul of sexual and physical abuse. The lawsuit, filed in a New York federal court today and obtained by Pitchfork, was first reported by The New York Times. Along with Diddy, Cassie named Epic Records, Bad Boy Entertainment, Bad Boy Records LLC, Combs Enterprises LLC, and 10 “Doe Corporations” as defendants.
In her lawsuit, Cassie, whose real name is Casandra Elizabeth Ventura, says that 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 reads. After signing her record deal, Cassie contends that she “was quickly thrust into the spotlight, and was unfamiliar with how to navigate her new celebrity status,” and 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.”
The lawsuit continues, “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.” The lawsuit claims that Diddy invited himself to Cassie’s 21st birthday party, and, at an afterparty in a hotel suite, that he pulled her into a bathroom and “forcibly” kissed her without consent. By 2010, the lawsuit claims, Diddy was financially responsible for Cassie’s housing, transportation, vacations, designer clothing, and more. “All aspects of Ms. Ventura’s life were controlled by either Mr. Combs or his management companies,” it continues.
There are multiple allegations in the lawsuit claiming that Diddy provided Cassie with drugs. Regarding one instance in late 2007, the lawsuit claims that “she felt she could not refuse Mr. Combs’ urging her to take more drugs.” Cassie’s attorneys claim in the lawsuit that Diddy was addicted to prescription painkillers and assert that “when Mr. Combs exhausted his supply of pills, he demanded that Ms. Ventura procure prescriptions from this Miami doctor in her own name.”
Another claim in the lawsuit is that Diddy had Cassie’s medical records forwarded to his email address, including an MRI she received due to memory loss. The memory loss, the lawsuit asserts, may have been the result of extensive drug use or due to head injuries caused by Diddy. Cassie claims that “multiple times each year,” Diddy beat her and left bruises on her body. One alleged incident in January 2009 occurred when, according to the lawsuit, Diddy learned that Cassie had spoken to another music manager in an effort to grow her career. Diddy is accused of pulling the singer out of the club, and, in the car, “stomping on her face.” She claims the event left her “terrified, isolated, and unable to see a pathway out of Mr. Combs’ abusive hold on her life.”
Sex trafficking is among the allegations listed in the lawsuit, which refers to claims that Diddy directed Cassie to perform sexual acts with sex workers at hotels around the country. “Ms. Ventura was given ecstasy, cocaine, GHB, ketamine, marijuana, and alcohol in excessive amounts” during these occasions, the lawsuit notes. She also accused him of filming these instances and occasionally of physically assaulting her.
During a fallout with Combs in 2011, Cassie began a brief 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. Cudi’s car exploded in his driveway around that time. Through a spokeswoman, Kid Cudi corroborated Cassie’s account to The New York Times. “This is all true,” he said.
In 2016, Cassie says, she tried to leave a hotel room while Diddy slept and that he responded by chasing, yelling, and throwing glass vases at her. She claims she was later contacted by Bad Boy Management and Sony Music, who said her single would be withheld if she didn’t answer Diddy’s calls. The lawsuit also outlines Cassie’s claim that Diddy raped her in September 2018. Cassie claims in the lawsuit that Diddy’s sexual and physical abuse caused lifelong harm.
Formally, Cassie is suing Diddy for sex trafficking, sexual assault, sexual battery, violating New York’s gender-motivated violence law, and more.
When reached by Pitchfork, representatives for Diddy shared the following statement from the musician’s attorney, Ben Brafman:
Mr. Combs vehemently denies these offensive and outrageous allegations. 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, in a statement shared with Pitchfork, said:
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.
One of Cassie’s attorneys, Douglas H. Wigdor, added, “No human should have to endure what Ms. Ventura has endured. Her ability and willingness to speak up against the abuse she suffered, and seeking to hold accountable her abuser and those who enabled the abuse, is a testament to her strength and resilience. We are honored to represent this brave victim in her pursuit of justice.”
In addition, in response to Brafman’s statement, Wigdor said, “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.”
If you or someone you know has been affected by sexual assault, we encourage you to reach out for support:
RAINN National Sexual Assault Hotline
1 800 656 HOPE (4673)
Crisis Text Line
SMS: Text “HELLO” or “HOLA” to 741-741
If you or someone you know have been affected by domestic abuse, we encourage you to reach out:
The National Domestic Violence Hotline
Originally Appeared on Pitchfork