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Sean "Diddy" Combs has officially responded to allegations that he abused his longtime romantic partner and R&B singer Casandra Ventura.
Known professionally simply as Cassie, the singer–who was once signed to his label, Bad Boy Records–accused the producer of rape and of repeated physical abuse over about a decade, according to a lawsuit obtained by The New York Times.
"After years in silence and darkness," Ventura, 37, said in a statement shared with the NYT, "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.”
However, Combs has since responded to the troubling accusations. "Mr. Combs vehemently denies these offensive and outrageous allegations," Ben Brafman, an attorney for Mr. Combs, told Parade in a statement. "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."
Ventura filed the lawsuit on Thursday, Nov. 16, in Manhattan Federal District Court, claiming that from shortly after the two first met in 2005–when Ventura was 19 and Combs was 36–"he exercised a pattern of abuse and manipulation that included beatings, drugs, coerced sex with male prostitutes, and at least one occasion, rape." Then in 2018, near the end of their relationship, Ventura claims Combs "forced his way into her home and raped her," per the outlet.
The suit reportedly goes on to accuse Combs, now 54, (who, over the years, has professionally been known as "Puff Daddy," "Diddy" and "Love" and worked with A-list artists like Notorious B.I.G. and Mary J. Blige) of "dangling" a friend of Ventura’s over a 17th-floor hotel balcony as well as threatening Cassie with retribution "if she did not obey his orders."
Ventura's lawyer Douglas Wigdor also suggested that the two parties had discussed the matter before filing the suit, "Mr. Combs offered Ms. Ventura eight figures to silence her and prevent the filing of this lawsuit," he told reporters. "She rejected his efforts."
Combs and a number of his associated companies are named as defendants in the lawsuit, which seeks unspecified damages.