Sean “Diddy” Combs, the rap mogul and media entrepreneur, has announced that he is temporarily stepping down as the chairman of Revolt, the cable network he founded in 2013. The decision comes amid multiple lawsuits accusing him of sexual assault by different women.
According to a statement from his spokesperson, Combs made the decision to step aside from the media network last week, saying that he wanted to “focus on his personal and professional growth” and “clear his name from the false and fabricated allegations” against him. The spokesperson also said that Combs “remains committed to Revolt and its mission of empowering Black voices and culture” and that he “looks forward to returning to his role as chairman once the legal matters are resolved”.
The lawsuits against Combs were filed under the New York Adult Survivors Act, which allows alleged victims of sex crimes to sue after the statute of limitations has lapsed. The act, which was passed in 2022, created a one-year window that ends on November 24, 2023, for survivors to file their claims.
The first lawsuit was filed by Combs’ ex-girlfriend, Cassie Ventura, a singer and model who dated him for more than a decade. Ventura alleged that Combs sexually assaulted her multiple times, subjected her to “a cycle of abuse, violence, and sex trafficking”, and threatened to kill her if she ever left him. She also claimed that Combs forced her to have an abortion and coerced her into signing a “hush agreement” that prevented her from speaking out. Combs denied the allegations and settled the lawsuit with Ventura the next day. The terms of the settlement were not disclosed, but both parties described it as “amicable”.
The second lawsuit was filed by Joi Dickerson-Neal, a former university student who appeared in a music video for Combs in 1991. She alleged that Combs drugged her, sexually assaulted her, and filmed the encounter without her consent. She also claimed that Combs distributed the video to his acquaintances, causing her to suffer from depression and suicidal thoughts. Combs’ spokesperson called the lawsuit “made up and not credible” and “purely a money grab”.
The third lawsuit was filed by an unnamed woman, referred to as Jane Doe, who alleged that Combs and singer-songwriter Aaron Hall raped her and her friend in 1990 or 1991. She said that the two men invited them back to Hall’s apartment after a music industry event, where they took turns forcing themselves on them. She also said that Combs visited her home a few days later and choked her until she passed out. She said that she sought medical treatment and told her close friends and family about the incident. Combs and Hall have not yet responded to the lawsuit.
The lawsuits have sparked a public outcry and a backlash against Combs, who is one of the most influential and wealthy figures in the music and entertainment industry. Combs, who also goes by the names Puff Daddy, P. Diddy, and Love, has a net worth of $900 million, according to Forbes. He is the founder of Bad Boy Records, which launched the careers of artists such as The Notorious B.I.G., Mary J. Blige, and Mase. He is also the owner of Sean John, a clothing line, and Ciroc, a vodka brand. He has won three Grammy Awards and received an honorary doctorate from Howard University.
Revolt, which Combs launched in 2013, is a cable network that focuses on music, culture, and news from a Black perspective. It reaches over 50 million households in the U.S. and has partnerships with platforms such as YouTube, Twitch, and Pluto TV. Some of its shows include The Breakfast Club, Drink Champs, and State of the Culture. Revolt has not yet announced who will replace Combs as the chairman or how his absence will affect the network’s operations and programming.
The lawsuits against Combs are part of a larger wave of sexual assault allegations that have emerged in recent years against powerful men in various fields, such as Hollywood, politics, sports, and media. The #MeToo movement, which was sparked by the revelations of sexual misconduct by producer Harvey Weinstein in 2017, has encouraged survivors to speak out and demand accountability and justice. However, some critics have also raised concerns about the potential for false or exaggerated claims, the lack of due process, and the impact of social media on public opinion and reputation.