The singer Cassie has accused hip-hop mogul Sean Combs of rape, trafficking, assault, and more. Cassie, whose real name is Cassandra Ventura, filed a federal lawsuit on Thursday, alleging a history of coercion and abuse that went on for more than a decade.
According to the lawsuit, the two met when Ventura was 19 years old and Combs was 37 years old. By 2006, Ventura signed a record deal with Combs’ label Bad Boy Records. Combs then entrenched himself into Ventura’s life, gaining control of all aspects of her life while plying her with drugs and alcohol.
The relationship soon turned violent. After finding out Ventura spoke with another music manager at a party, Combs allegedly kicked her in the face repeatedly. Combs’ own security staff tried to stop him but was unable. According to the lawsuit, Combs then began forcing Ventura to perform sex acts with men he hired while he filmed.
In one particularly egregious example of the control Combs exerted, he allegedly became enraged after finding emails between Ventura and the rapper Kid Cudi. From the lawsuit:
“In February 2012, during Paris Fashion Week, Mr. Combs told Ms. Ventura that he was going to blow up Kid Cudi’s car, and that he wanted to ensure that Kid Cudi was home with his friends when it happened. Around that time, Kid Cudi’s car exploded in his driveway.”
NPR has reached out to Combs’ representatives for comment.
Combs is one of the biggest figures in popular music. His label, Bad Boy Records, has been home to some of the most foundational acts in hip-hop: the Notorious B.I.G., Faith Evans, Mase, and more. Last year he was given a BET Lifetime Achievement Award. In accepting the honor, he said “I really really have to give a sincere thank you to everyone who lifted me up in prayer.”
In the lawsuit filed, Ventura thanked the passage of New York’s Adult Survivor’s Act as well as California’s Sexual Abuse Accountability and Cover-Up Act for being able to “confront her abuser, and to hold him and those who enabled his abuse accountable for their actions.”