How CCTV footage led to the cancellation of P.Diddy

Sean “Diddy” Combs is in hot waters after video evidence of him assaulting ex-girlfriend Casandra Ventura, best known as Cassie, in a hotel has emerged. David Ho looks into the disturbing case, which has forced the rapper to go from denial to apology

Photo: Instagram @diddy

Over the weekend, horrifying CCTV footage was leaked showing Diddy attacking the “Me & U” hitmaker in a lift lobby of the InterContinental Hotel in Los Angeles on 5 March 2016. Cassie is seen trying to get into a lift when an enraged Diddy wearing only a white towel chases and grabs her by the neck from behind. He throws the singer-model-actress to the ground, where he proceeds to kick her a few times before dragging her by the neck. Later, Diddy is also seen throwing things at her in other footage.

“It’s so difficult to reflect on the darkest times in your life, but sometimes you got to do that,” said Diddy in an apology video on Instagram. “I hit rock bottom — but I make no excuses. My behaviour on that video is inexcusable. I take full responsibility for my actions in that video. I’m disgusted. I was disgusted then when I did it. I’m disgusted now.”

Yet, the apology is a quick 180 from the Bad Boy Records founder’s denial just a few months ago. After Cassie filed a lawsuit against him for rape, sex trafficking, and physical abuse during their relationship, the hip-hop mogul settled the lawsuit the next day. After details of her lawsuit became known, Diddy was sued by three women who accused him of rape while a male music producer accused him of unwanted sexual contact.

At the time, the rapper published a statement on Instagram that people were trying to “assassinate my character, destroy my reputation and my legacy” followed by an absolute denial of “the awful things being alleged”. Diddy’s lawyer, Benjamin Brafman, added that the settlement was “in no way an admission of wrongdoing”.

Diddy in his apology video. Photo: Instagram @diddy

Cassie’s camp has slammed Diddy’s latest attempt at an apology. “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.  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,” said lawyer Meredith Firetog, who represented Cassie in her settlement with Combs. 

Cassie. Picture: Instagram @cassie

“The gut-wrenching video has only further confirmed the disturbing and predatory behaviour of Mr Combs,” said Douglas Wigdor, an attorney for Cassie who has filed other lawsuits against Combs.

The pair had started their decade long on-off relationship after meeting when she was 19 and he was 37. Cassie’s lawsuit against Diddy details the InterContinental Hotel assault and says she managed to get away, but returned later out of fear of greater abuse if she did not. The lawsuit also alleges that Diddy paid the hotel US$50,000 for the security video.

However, the Los Angeles County District Attorney has since stated they would not be able to prosecute Diddy for the assault as the statute of limitations had passed. California’s statute of limitations for simple assault is one year, though aggravated assault is three years. Given that the hotel assault happened in 2016, neither charge could be levied against Diddy.

He may not get away completely scot-free though, as Diddy is already under investigation for sex-trafficking. The Homeland Security Investigations served search warrants on Combs’ homes in Los Angeles and Miami in March 2024.

Singer Kesha, a sexual assault survivor, has also changed the lyrics to her hit song “Tik Tok,” which references him. She sings “Wake up in the morning feeling like P. Diddy” in the original lyrics. But at a recent Coachella performance, she changed that to “Wake up in the morning like f*** P. Diddy.”

Tine Turner. Photo: Instagram @tinaturner

The way that celebrity domestic abuse cases has been perceived by the public has evolved much too slowly over the years. In the 1980’s, the late Tina Turner was one of the first to truly speak out about domestic abuse she suffered in her marriage to Ike Turner. Though she eventually divorced him, Turner’s freedom was not without cost. She handed him most of her assets in their split and survived on food stamps and lived with friends for years after, especially after being sued by concert promoters that had booked them as a duo.

The late Ike Turner remained defiant about his assaults on her after their divorce. “I hit her, but I didn’t hit her more than the average guy beats his wife,” he said in interviews. “I don’t regret nothing I’ve ever done.” [Sic]

Rihanna. Photo: Instagram @badgalriri

Chris Brown’s assault on Rihanna in February 2009 was also highly controversial, especially after pictures of her bloodied face was leaked to the media. “The thing men don’t realise when they hit a woman, it’s the face, the broken arm, the black eye, it’s going to heal. That’s not the problem. It’s the scar inside,” she said in an interview with Diane Sawyer for 20/20 in November 2009.

“You flashback. You remember it all the time. It comes back to you, whether you like it or not. And it’s painful, so I don’t think he understood that. They never do.” In the years since then, Brown has racked up quite a number of assault charges and lawsuits. Despite this, his career has managed to survive.

Over the years, the #MeToo movement has softened public stance on survivor accounts of physical and/or sexual assault. But skepticism and victim blaming in the public domain has remained a problem, even in Cassie’s case against Diddy.

If you or anyone you know has suffered from abuse, please contact the police or any support services for consultation.

Also see: 5 things to know about Amy Winehouse

In this Story: #culture / #entertainment