“His career is effectively done”: Experts assess footage of Diddy’s assault on Cassie, his apology

Sean “Diddy” Combs, once a prolific and successful rapper and producer, has faced steadily mounting lawsuits alleging a troubling history of violence, including sex trafficking and sexual assault. In March, federal agents raided his homes in Miami and Los Angeles in connection to the sex trafficking investigation. 

The latest piece of evidence against the Grammy-winning hip-hop mogul is so damning, in fact, that legal experts say his career may have been irrevocably damaged. Over the weekend, surveillance footage of Combs physically assaulting his ex-girlfriend, Cassie Ventura, during a 2016 stay at the InterContinental Hotel in Century City, Los Angeles, widely circulated the internet. The video shows Ventura waiting near the hotel’s internal elevators while Combs, wearing only a bath towel and socks, runs down the hallway after her before grabbing her by the neck and throwing her to the ground. Combs proceeds to kick her numerous times while she lies defenseless on the floor, before attempting to drag her back towards their hotel room. 

Ventura on Nov. 16, 2023, sued Combs, claiming that he had sexually abused her throughout their more than a decade-long relationship. Ventura’s suit stated that the rapper was “a serial domestic abuser, who would regularly beat and kick Ms. Ventura, leaving black eyes, bruises and blood.” When Ventura attempted to terminate the relationship in 2018, the suit claimed that Combs raped her in her Los Angeles home. The lawsuit also stated that Combs paid the now defunct InterContinental Century City $50,000 for the hallway security footage, in an effort to keep it from public view. Combs denied Ventura’s allegations. 

“After years in silence and darkness, 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,” Ventura said in a statement at the time. “With the expiration of New York’s Adult Survivors Act fast approaching, it became clear that this was an opportunity to speak up about the trauma I have experienced and that I will be recovering from for the rest of my life,” she added.

On Nov. 17, 2023, Ventura and Combs came to an undisclosed settlement, with Ventura saying in a statement, “I have decided to resolve this matter amicably on terms that I have some level of control. I want to thank my family, fans and lawyers for their unwavering support.”

She declined to comment on the recently disseminated clip when asked by CNN; however, her attorney Douglas H. Wigdor said, “The gut-wrenching video has only further confirmed the disturbing and predatory behavior of Mr. Combs. Words cannot express the courage and fortitude that Ms. Ventura has shown in coming forward to bring this to light.”

On Sunday, Combs posted a response to the video to his Instagram account. “It’s so difficult to reflect on the darkest times in your life, but sometimes you gotta do that,” the musician said, adding, “I was f***ed up. I mean, I hit rock bottom. But I make no excuses. My behavior on that video is inexcusable.

“I take full responsibility for my actions in that video,” Combs continued. “I’m disgusted. I was disgusted then when I did it. I’m disgusted now. I went and I sought professional help. After going to therapy and going to rehab, I had to ask God for his mercy and grace. I’m so sorry. But I’m committed to being a better man each and every day. I’m not asking for forgiveness. I’m truly sorry.”

In response to Comb’s video apology, another lawyer for Ventura, Meredith Firetog, shared her own statement, saying, “Combs’ most recent statement is more about himself than the many people he has hurt.

“When Cassie and multiple other women came forward, he denied everything and suggested that his victims were looking for a payday,” Firetog added, according to PEOPLE. “That he was only compelled to ‘apologize’ once his repeated denials were proven false shows his pathetic desperation, and no one will be swayed by his disingenuous words.”

Camron Dowlatshahi, an attorney at Mills Sadat Dowlat LLP, told Business Insider that Combs’ purchasing of the surveillance footage, while something of a commonplace practice in the world of A-list entertainment, “certainly doesn’t look good.”

“It’s rare to have smoking-gun evidence in those types of cases, and this video is a form of smoking-gun evidence with respect to Diddy’s propensity for violence,” Dowlatshahi also said, noting that the video could pay legal dividends for other the four other women who have filed sued Combs for assault by serving as evidence for his “propensity for violence.”

While Combs cannot be indicted for the 2016 incident with Ventura because of the statute of limitations on felony assault and domestic violence charges, as Dowlatshahi observed, the video’s surfacing could prompt investigators to search for similar clips from other hotels Combs had previously stayed at. 

“His career is effectively done,” Dowlatshahi said.

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