Sean “Diddy” Combs was accused in a lawsuit Thursday of subjecting R&B singer Cassie to a years-long relationship that included beatings and rape.
Cassie, whose legal name is Casandra Ventura, alleged in the lawsuit filed against the producer and music mogul in New York federal court that Combs lured her into his “ostentatious, fast-paced, money-fueled lifestyle.” drugs” shortly after she met him. and signed to his label when she was 19 and he was 37 in 2005.
Attorney Ben Brafman said Combs “vehemently denies” the allegations.
Ventura, now 37 herself, said Combs, now 54, began committing abuse early in their relationship.
The suit alleges that, “prone to uncontrollable rage,” he subjected her to “savage” beatings during which he punched, kicked and kicked her. He alleges he drugged her and forced her to have sex with other men while he masturbated and filmed them.
The suit says that while she attempted to end the relationship in 2018, Combs forced her into his Los Angeles home and raped her.
“After years of silence and darkness, I am finally ready to tell my story and speak out for myself and for the benefit of other women facing violence and abuse in their relationships,” Ventura said in a statement. communicated.
The Associated Press generally does not name people who say they were sexually abused unless they come forward publicly as Ventura did.
Brafman called the allegations “lies.”
“Over the past six months, Mr. Combs has been subjected to Ms. Ventura’s persistent demand for $30 million, under threat of writing a damaging book about their relationship, which has been unequivocally dismissed as blatant blackmail ” he said in a statement. “Even though she has withdrawn her initial threat, Ms. Ventura is now resorting to a lawsuit riddled with baseless and outrageous lies, in an attempt to tarnish Mr. Combs’ reputation and obtain payback.”
Ventura’s attorney, Douglas Wigdor, responded in a statement that Combs offered her “eight figures to silence her and prevent her from filing this lawsuit.” She rejected his efforts and decided to give a voice to all women who suffer in silence.
Combs is one of the most influential hip-hop producers and executives of the last three decades.
He and Ventura began dating in 2007 and had an on-and-off relationship for over a decade.
She rose to prominence with the hit single “Me & U”, produced by Ryan Leslie, which secured the number one spot on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart in 2006. The song was the first single from her only studio album, which had the same title.
As an actress, she has appeared in several television and film projects, including Fox’s “Empire,” “Step Up 2: The Streets” and “Spenser Confidential.”
Combs built one of the largest empires in hip-hop, paving the way for several entities attached to his famous name. He is the founder of Bad Boy Records and a three-time Grammy winner who has worked with many top artists, including Notorious BIG, Mary J. Blige, Usher, Lil Kim, Faith Evans and 112.
The mogul created the Sean John fashion clothing line, launched the music-focused Revolt TV channel and produced the reality show “Making the Band” for MTV.
This year, he released his fifth studio album “The Love Album: Off the Grid,” which earned two Grammy nominations this month.
The lawsuit cites a speech Combs gave while receiving a lifetime achievement honor at the BET Awards in 2022, in which he thanked Ventura for “holding me together in dark times, my love.”
The suit says: “The truth, however, is that Cassie – Ms. Casandra Ventura – was held down by Mr. Combs and endured more than a decade of his violent behavior and disturbed demands. »