Last week, Casandra “Cassie” Ventura filed a federal lawsuit against Sean “Diddy” Combs in New York federal court. Her lawsuit includes graphic claims of sexual assault, physical abuse, and an allegation that Combs, her ex-boyfriend, would force her to have sex with male sex workers while he watched. Ventura’s claims are among the worst, but not the first controversy that the music mogul and entrepreneur has been alleged to be involved in.
Combs has attempted to rebrand himself as “Brother Love” in recent years, even changing his middle name to Love, but he has a prolonged history of violence, dating back to the Nineties. He’s never been convicted of a serious crime but has repeatedly been accused of having violent encounters with everyone from his exes Ventura and Gina Huynh (who alleged physical abuse in 2019) to executive Steve Stoute and rappers like J. Cole and Drake.
Combs’ attorney Ben Brafman told the New York Times that “Mr. Combs vehemently denies these offensive and outrageous allegations. For the past six 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’s reputation and seeking a payday.” The two reached an “amicable” settlement for an undisclosed amount on Nov. 17.
Here is a timeline of Combs’ controversies over the years:
CCNY Tragedy, 1991
Combs co-promoted a celebrity basketball game and concert at City College of New York where nine people died and 29 people were injured. The gym had a capacity of 2,730 people but as many as 5,000 people showed up to the event, which didn’t have enough security to control the throng. After organizers closed the doors and stopped letting attendees in, people outside broke the gymnasium’s doors and rushed the lobby, causing a stampede. Then-New York City Mayor David Dinkins’ administration published a 67-page report called “A Failure Of Responsibility” that cited Combs for hiring inadequate, inexperienced security. Combs settled a slew of lawsuits from family members of attendees who died at the gymnasium, finalizing the last suit in 2000.
Jake Robles Shooting, 1995
Combs and Death Row Records co-founder Marion “Suge” Knight were once friends, but the animosity that fueled the violent rivalry between Death Row and Bad Boy started once Knight’s friend (and security guard) Jake Robles was killed outside an Atlanta nightclub after an argument with the Bad Boy camp. The men were celebrating musician Jermaine Dupri’s birthday at Platinum City Club when, as then-Fulton County Sheriff Deputy Chris Howard told police, an argument began between members of the Bad Boy and Death Row Records entourage. Howard said that he escorted Combs and his guests outside to leave the club, and thought the coast was clear to allow Knight and his entourage to leave. But, as Howard told the Los Angeles Times, “[Knight’s] partner was just about ready to get into the limo when all of a sudden Puffy’s guys came from around the corner . . . and one of them had a gun.” Howard said he chased the man, who handed the gun to another person, who shot Robles “two or three times.” According to the Times, the person then jumped into a “car carrying Combs’ associates.” Robles died weeks later at an Atlanta hospital. Combs has denied involvement in the shooting, which Knight reportedly held him responsible for.
Attacking Steve Stoute, 1998
In 1998, Combs and two other men attacked Steve Stoute after the music executive, then Nas’ manager, erroneously sent MTV a version of Combs and Nas’ “Hate Me Now” music video which contained scenes depicting Combs as Jesus Christ being crucified. Combs wanted the crucifixion scene deleted from the video, and was enraged that it played on-air. Stoute says that Combs and two men barged into his New York City office and attacked him with a champagne bottle. He was charged with second-degree assault and criminal mischief. Stoute claims that his arm and jaw was broken in the attack, but Combs denied any bones were broken to MTV, also telling the network, “I basically went to his office, and what happened in his office, I really can’t speak about but I can say this: the way I handled myself in his office was completely wrong and I’ve since apologized to Steve about that and I felt like, you know, I just disappointed myself.” Combs was sentenced to a one-day anger management class.
Club New York Shooting, 1999
In late December 1999, Combs and his Bad Boy signee Jamal “Shyne” Barrow were partying at Club New York when Diddy knocked a drink out of Matthew “Scar” Allen’s hands. Allen got into an argument with Combs and someone threw money in Combs’ face. Allen also threatened to kill Shyne. Prosecutors allege that amid the fray, all three men drew guns, and Shyne shot three times in the crowded club. Three people were shot. Combs, who was arrested with two nine-millimeter guns in his car, was charged with four weapons charges and for bribing his driver to claim that the guns were his own. A witness at the trial said she saw both Shyne and Combs shoot their weapons, but Combs was acquitted on all charges, while Shyne was found guilty of five of his eight charges and was sentenced to 10 years in prison.
Scuffle with J. Cole, 2013
In 2013, Combs was allegedly involved in an altercation with J. Cole at a 2013 MTV VMAs afterparty. Multiple sources alleged to Complex that a “visibly intoxicated” Combs accosted Kendrick Lamar about his fiery verse on Big Sean’s “Control,” where he bragged he was “King of New York.” Combs allegedly tried to pour a drink on Kendrick before Cole intervened and they got into a fight. The New York Post, however, reported that the scuffle occurred after “J. Cole was saying inappropriate things to Sean Combs and his girlfriend, Cassie.” A witness told them that “Some pushing and shoving happened. No punches were thrown, but it was a visible disturbance.” Both men immediately denied a fight took place, though Cole later rapped, “My last scrap was with Puff Daddy, who would’ve thought it?” on 2021’s “Let Go My Hand.”
Allegedly Punches Drake, 2014
In December 2014, Combs allegedly punched Drake over the rights to the beat that became Drake’s “0 to 100.” The Miami New-Times reported that the two got into an argument outside of LIV nightclub during DJ Khaled’s event for Basel Weekend. Words were allegedly exchanged, and reportedly, “then blows,” with Combs telling Drake, “You will not disrespect me.” Combs has denied punching Drake, telling the radio show The Breakfast Club “I didn’t do nothing to Drake, Drake is my friend.”
Fights UCLA Coach, 2015
In June of 2015, Combs got into a scuffle with then-UCLA assistant football coach Sal Alosi. TMZ reported that Combs was present during a UCLA practice where Alosi chided his son (and then-UCLA player) Justin Combs, telling him, “I don’t care if your dad’s here. This is UCLA. I’m going to treat you just like I treat everyone else.” After the practice, Combs and his son reportedly went to Alosi’s office, where an argument ensued and Combs “grabbed” Alosi. According to one account, Combs was forcibly removed from Alosi’s office and then swung a kettlebell at an intern. A rep for Combs Enterprises noted, “The various accounts of the event and charges that are being reported are wholly inaccurate. What we can say now is that any actions taken by Mr. Combs were solely defensive in nature to protect himself and his son.” The LA district attorney decided not to file assault charges against Combs.
Gina Huynh Alleges Abuse
In 2019 Combs’ ex Gina Huynh told blogger Tasha K that Combs physically abused her throughout their five-year relationship. She claimed he once stomped her on the stomach, causing her to lose her breath, and also punched her in the back of the head. She told Tasha K that, “He was mentally, emotionally and physically abusing me. He would always compare me to Cassie and tell me that I’m the bad one, she’s a good one.” She also said that “everyone” in Combs’ circle “allowed” the abuse to occur.
Cassie Files Civil Suit Against Combs
On Nov. 16th, Combs’ ex Casandra “Cassie” Ventura filed a federal lawsuit against Combs in New York alleging years of assault. Her lawsuit contains graphic allegations of Combs raping her in 2018, physically abusing her, intimidating her, and making her have sex with male escorts while he watched. The lawsuit also alleges that Combs blew up Cudi’s car to deter him from seeing Cassie romantically — through a rep, Cudi said the accusations are true. Combs has denied the allegations and alleged that Cassie tried to blackmail him for $30 million before filing the lawsuit. The two settled for an undisclosed amount on Nov. 17, with his attorney Ben Brafman stating that “Mr. Combs‘ decision to settle the lawsuit does not in any way undermine his flat-out denial of the claims.”