Rapper and record executive Sean “Diddy” Combs was sued in federal court in New York City on Thursday by singer Cassandra Ventura, known professionally as Cassie, who alleges Combs raped, physically abused and sex trafficked her during their decade-long relationship.
The complaint describes Combs as a “vicious, cruel, and controlling man,” who “asserted complete control over Ms. Ventura’s personal and professional life,” and details abuse he allegedly inflicted on her after meeting her in 2005 when the singer was 19 years old.
“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,” Ventura said in a statement to CBS News. “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.”
The suit levels multiple allegations against Combs, including that he raped Ventura in her home after she tried to leave him, that he “often punched, beat, kicked and stomped on Ms. Ventura, resulting in bruises, burst lips, black eyes and bleeding,” and that in 2012 he blew up rapper Kid Cudi’s car after finding out he was romantically interested in Ventura.
Combs also allegedly forced Ventura to engage in sex acts with male escorts as he stood by and filmed the encounters while masturbating, according to the suit.
The suit adds that Combs intimidated Ventura by demanding she carry a firearm for him and “introduced Ms. Ventura to a lifestyle of excessive alcohol and substance abuse and required her to procure illicit prescriptions to satisfy his addictions.
Combs denies the allegations, and an attorney for the rapper said Ventura attempted to blackmail him for $30 million.
“Mr. Combs vehemently denies these offensive and outrageous allegations,” Combs’ lawyer, Ben Brafman said in a statement to CBS News. “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 payday,” he added.
In response to Brafman’s statement, Ventura’s attorney Douglas Wigdor claimed Combs has offered his client money in exchange for her silence, but she declined.
“Mr. Combs offered Ms. Ventura eight figures to silence her and prevent the filing of this lawsuit,” he said in a statement to CBS News. “She rejected his efforts and decided to give a voice to all women who suffer in silence. Ms. Ventura should be applauded for her bravery.”