In November 2023, the singer Cassie (real name Cassandra Ventura) filed an explosive federal lawsuit against her former partner Sean “Diddy” Combs, claiming he had been physically and sexually abusive throughout their relationship. The complaint alleged that Combs’ abuse ranged from beating Ventura and forcing her to have sex with other men to raping her at her home in 2018. The rapper settled the lawsuit within a day. But since then, three more women and one man have sued Combs, accusing him of a wide range of abusive behavior, including sexual harassment, rape, nonconsensual pornography, and sex trafficking. The music mogul has denied all the allegations, claiming that his accusers are attempting “to assassinate my character, destroy my reputation and my legacy.” Here’s everything you need to know about the civil cases against him.
Cassie alleged she was the victim of a pattern of “abuse, violence, and sex trafficking.”
Ventura sued under New York’s Adult Survivors Act, which gave victims a onetime one-year window to sue their alleged sexual abusers and institutions even if the statute of limitations had run out. (The window expired in November.) She says she first met Combs in 2005, when she was 19 and he was 37. In the lawsuit, she alleges that Combs controlled nearly every aspect of her life, from her career to having access to her personal medical records. She claims he was frequently violent, physically abusing her “multiple times a year,” and that he often plied her with “copious amounts of drugs.”
The complaint also claims that Combs forced Ventura to have sex with male sex workers in different cities — encounters she says he watched, masturbated to, and recorded. The singer says she never went to the police because she was afraid that doing so “would merely give Mr. Combs another excuse to hurt her.” She also alleges that, following a dinner in 2018, Combs forced himself into her apartment and raped her while she “repeatedly said ‘no’ and tried to push him away.” Ventura says she ended the relationship for good afterward.
In her lawsuit, she referred to multiple witnesses who saw the abuse take place. One of them is her friend, singer-songwriter Tiffany Red, who wrote an open letter to Combs describing an incident on Ventura’s 29th-birthday party in 2015. Ventura and Red claim that that night, Combs and his security team forced Ventura to leave because he wanted her to have sexual encounters with other men. Red said Ventura had disclosed to her at the time that Combs was physically abusive. “I feel compelled to show up for Cassie and myself and confirm that everything she described in her complaint about what happened that night is consistent with what I experienced,” she wrote.
In a statement to the New York Times, Combs’s lawyer Benjamin Brafman said Combs denied the allegations and that the lawsuit was “riddled with baseless and outrageous lies, aiming to tarnish Mr. Combs’s reputation and seeking a payday.” Ventura and Combs settled the lawsuit one day after it was filed; the details remain private. Brafman said that the settlement “is in no way an admission of wrongdoing.”
“I have decided to resolve this matter amicably on terms that I have some level of control,” Ventura said in a statement. “I want to thank my family, fans and lawyers for their unwavering support.” Meanwhile, Combs said, “We have decided to resolve this matter amicably. I wish Cassie and her family all the best. Love.”
Four more people have come forward with allegations against Diddy.
Following the settlement, Liza Gardner filed a lawsuit on November 23, right before the Adult Survivors Act expired. She says she and a friend met Combs and singer-songwriter Aaron Hall at an MCA Records event in 1990 or 1991. They returned to Hall’s apartment for an after-party, where Gardner says she was “offered more drinks and was coerced into having sex with Combs.” She says Combs also assaulted her friend. The lawsuit claims the encounter left Gardner “shocked and traumatized,” and as she got dressed, Hall allegedly “barged into the room, pinned her down, and forced [her] to have sex with him.” Gardner claims that Combs came to the home she shared with her friend a few days later and allegedly attacked her again. He came to the house looking for the friend because he was worried she would tell the “girl he was with at the time,” according to the suit.
In another complaint filed the same day, Joi Dickerson-Neal alleges that in 1991, she “reluctantly” went on a date with Combs, who “intentionally drugged” and sexually assaulted her after their dinner. She claims that Combs recorded the assault and showed the tape to other people. While Dickerson-Neal did not go to the authorities immediately after the alleged assault, she says she did eventually file a police report with unspecified agencies in New York and New Jersey. The complaint says prosecutors told her they’d need to corroborate her allegations, but she believes possible witnesses were “terrified that Combs would retaliate against them and that they would lose future business and music opportunities if they made a statement” backing her account.
A spokesperson for Diddy said the two women’s claims are “fabricated” and accused them of exploiting the Adult Survivors Act. Another woman, referred to as Jane Doe in the complaint, filed a fourth lawsuit on December 6, alleging that Combs, his longtime lieutenant Harve Pierre, and a third unidentified assailant gang-raped her at Combs’s Manhattan recording studio in 2003, when she was 17 years old. (Pierre, who previously served as president of Combs’s Bad Boy Entertainment, has also been sued by a former assistant, who alleges he “used his position of authority as plaintiff’s boss to groom, exploit, and sexually assault” her several times between 2016 and 2017.)
The lawsuit claims that the men trafficked Doe across state lines from Detroit to New York City on a private jet, plied the teenager with drugs and alcohol until she couldn’t consent, and then violently assaulted her as she told them to stop. The complaint also includes several photos that Doe alleges were taken at the studio on that night, including one where she is sitting on Combs’s lap.
In February, Combs’s former producer and videographer filed a federal lawsuit against the mogul, alleging Combs sexually harassed, drugged, and threatened him. According to the lawsuit, Rodney “Lil Rod” Jones worked on Combs’s most recent album, Love, and lived with him between September 2022 and November 2023. Jones alleges he “was the victim of constant unsolicited and unauthorized groping and touching of his anus by Mr. Combs.” On one occasion, the lawsuit claims, Jones woke up naked and disoriented in bed with Combs and two sex workers. He alleges the music mogul drugged him.
The complaint also claims that, in his role as Combs’s videographer, Jones “secured HUNDREDS of hours of footage and audio recordings of Mr. Combs, his staff, and his guests engaging in serious illegal activity.” The illegal activity the suit alleges includes acquiring drugs, soliciting sex workers, providing laced drinks to minors, and sexual assault.
Jones’s suit names several other defendants, including Combs’s son Justin; Combs’s chief of staff, Kristina Khorram; Universal Music Group CEO Sir Lucian Grainge; and former Motown Records CEO Ethiopia Habtemariam. Combs’s lawyer, Shawn Holley, denied Jones’s allegations. “We have overwhelming, indisputable proof that his claims are complete lies,” she told People.
Diddy has denied all the allegations against him.
“ENOUGH IS ENOUGH,” Diddy said in a statement. “For the last couple of weeks, I have sat silently and watched people try to assassinate my character, destroy my reputation and my legacy. Sickening allegations have been made against me by individuals looking for a quick payday. Let me be absolutely clear: I did not do any of the awful things being alleged. I will fight for my name, my family and for the truth.”
In late November, Diddy temporarily stepped down as chairman of Revolt, the media company he founded in 2013. “While Mr. Combs has previously had no operational or day-to-day role in the business,” the company said in a statement, “this decision helps to ensure that Revolt remains steadfastly focused on our mission to create meaningful content for the culture and amplify the voices of all Black people throughout this country and the African diaspora.” Capital Prep Harlem, a charter school he opened in 2016, also announced it would end its partnership with the music mogul.
Meanwhile, Variety reports that a new reality show featuring Combs, which was in the early stages of development at Hulu, has also been scrapped following the allegations. The show, tentatively titled Diddy+7, would have followed Combs and his family.
This story has been updated.