Music mogul Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs has been accused of rape and years of physical abuse in a lawsuit brought by his ex-girlfriend, the former R&B singer Cassie.
Mr Combs, a three-time Grammy winning rapper and producer, is accused of more than a decade of coercive control involving violence and drugs.
Cassie, whose real name is Casandra Ventura, has brought the case in Manhattan under a New York law allowing alleged victims of sexual abuse to file civil suits after the statute of limitations.
The suit alleges Mr Combs subjected her to brutal beatings, plied her with drugs, and forced her to have sex with sex workers while he masturbated and filmed them.
It marks just the latest in a string of recent civil cases against prominent men in the music industry.
“After years in silence and darkness, I am finally ready to tell my story,” she said.
The musician, who has gone by the names Puff Daddy, P Diddy and Diddy, vehemently denied the claims through his lawyer Ben Brafman, who called them “offensive and outrageous”.
Ms Ventura met Mr Combs in 2005, when she was aged 19 and he was 37.
She was signed to his label, Bad Boy Records, after she began a relationship with him.
She claims Mr Combs, now 54, began a pattern of control and abuse soon after, alleging he had oversight of her car, housing, clothes and even her medical records.
His control allegedly extended to plying her with drugs including ecstasy and ketamine, beating her and forcing her to have sex with male prostitutes while he watched and filmed.
She would consume drugs supplied during the sessions “to disassociate” from the “horrific encounters,” the lawsuit said.
The sessions with prostitutes took place in numerous cities, the lawsuit said, arguing she was also a victim of sex trafficking as a result.
Claims Mr Combs blew up a rival’s car
The lawsuit implies that in 2012 Mr Combs blew up the car of the rapper Kid Cudi, because Ms Ventura was dating him at the time.
Mr Combs had threatened to blow up the rapper’s car, which “exploded in his driveway” around the same period, the lawsuit stated.
Kid Cudi corroborated Ms Ventura’s account regarding this incident via a spokeswoman, telling The New York Times: “This is all true”.
Ms Ventura, now 37, claims some of Mr Combs’ violent outbursts were documented, including him throwing glass vases at her in the hallway of a Los Angeles hotel in 2016.
Mr Combs paid hotel $50,000 to obtain footage capturing the incident, she claimed.
She argued his alleged violence made her afraid to say “no” to Mr Combs, fearing it would “cost her something — her family, her friends, her career, or even her life”.
The suit says Ms Ventura did not report the alleged assaults to the police because she feared it “would merely give Mr Combs another excuse to hurt her”.
However, she said she left Mr Combs for good in 2018, after she claimed the pair met for dinner and he forced his way into her home and raped her.
Her ties with Bad Boy Records ended the following year.
Lawsuit ‘is riddled with lies’
Mr Brafman said the lawsuit was “riddled with baseless and outrageous lies, aiming to tarnish Mr Combs’ reputation and seeking a payday”.
He claimed his client had for months been “subjected to Ms Ventura’s persistent demand of $30 million” which he “unequivocally rejected as blatant blackmail”.
Douglas Wigdor, a lawyer for Ms Ventura, confirmed the parties had spoken before the suit was filed, but said the singer rejected Mr Combs’ offer of “eight figures to silence her and prevent the filing of this lawsuit”.
Ms Ventura’s lawsuit has been brought under New York’s Adult Survivors Act.
Like numerous other recent sexual assault cases, it has allowed alleged victims to file civil cases after the statute of limitations. However, the law’s one-year window ends next week.
The lawsuit, which names other defendants whom Ms Ventura claims assisted Mr Combs’ controlling behaviour, is seeking unspecified damages.
Mr Combs is among the most influential hip-hop producers and executives of the past three decades. His proteges included the late Notorious BIG and Mary J Blige.
His net worth has been estimated to be as high as $1 billion, not least due to his ventures in the spirits industry.