“After a prolonged period of silence and darkness,” stated Cassie, whose real name is Casandra Ventura, “I am finally prepared to share my personal narrative.” Cassie, an R&B singer previously signed to the record label of producer and renowned music mogul Sean Combs, filed a federal court lawsuit on Thursday accusing Mr. Sean Combs of rape and repeated physical abuse spanning approximately ten years.
According to the lawsuit filed in the Federal District Court in Manhattan, Cassie, also known as Casandra Ventura, who was romantically involved with Mr. Combs, alleges that shortly after their meeting in 2005 when she was 19, he initiated a pattern of control and abuse. The alleged abuse included administering drugs, physical assault, and coercing her into engaging in sexual acts with male prostitutes while recording the encounters. The suit further claims that in 2018, near the end of their relationship, Mr. Combs forced his way into her residence and raped her.
Ms. Ventura stated in a separate statement, “After years of silence and darkness, I am now ready to share my story and speak out not only for myself but also for other women who endure violence and abuse in their relationships.”
In response, Mr. Combs’s lawyer, Ben Brafman, stated, “Mr. Combs vehemently denies these offensive and outrageous allegations. Over the past six months, Ms. Ventura has persistently demanded $30 million from Mr. Combs under the threat of publishing a damaging book about their relationship. This demand was unequivocally rejected as blatant blackmail. Despite withdrawing her initial threat, Ms. Ventura has now resorted to filing a lawsuit filled with baseless and outrageous lies, with the aim of tarnishing Mr. Combs’s reputation and seeking financial gain.”
Douglas Wigdor, Ms. Ventura’s lawyer, confirmed that the parties had engaged in discussions before the lawsuit was filed. “Mr. Combs offered Ms. Ventura a substantial sum of money to silence her and prevent the filing of this lawsuit,” he stated. “She declined his efforts.”
Ms. Ventura’s case is the latest in a series of civil suits alleging sexual assault brought against prominent men in the music industry, including Steven Tyler of Aerosmith, executive L.A. Reid, and Neil Portnow, the former head of the organization behind the Grammy Awards. (Mr. Portnow has denied the accusation, while Mr. Tyler and Mr. Reid have not responded.)
Mr. Sean Combs, aged 54, founded Bad Boy in 1993 and played a significant role in the commercialization of hip-hop, collaborating with artists such as the Notorious B.I.G. and Mary J. Blige. His net worth has been estimated as high as $1 billion, and Forbes calculated his annual earnings at $90 million last year, largely due to his former partnership with the liquor brand Ciroc, owned by spirits giant Diageo.
Despite being one of the most prominent music executives of his generation, the lawsuit portrays Mr. Combs as a violent individual who, in addition to allegedly assaulting Ms. Ventura on multiple occasions, requested her to carry his firearm in her purse. The suit also implies that he was responsible for a rival suitor’s car explosion. Furthermore, the suit alleges that Mr. Combs once held a friend of Ms. Ventura’s over a 17th-floor hotel balcony.
The court documents name additional defendants, asserting that others working with Mr. Sean Combs aided him in controlling Ms. Ventura. This assistance reportedly involved threats of retribution, such as suppressing her music if she did not comply with his demands, or assisting in concealing his behavior. The lawsuit, which lists Mr. Sean Combs and several associated companies as defendants, seeks unspecified damages.