Sean “Diddy” Combs Admits to Assaulting Ex-Girlfriend Cassie in 2016 Hotel Incident, says he’s sorry, calls his actions ‘inexcusable’

Music mogul and entrepreneur Sean "Diddy" Combs arrives at the Billboard Music Awards in Las Vegas on May 15, 2022. Combs is suing Diageo, saying the spirits company didn't make promised investments in his vodka and tequila brands and treated them as inferior "urban" brands. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP, File)
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LOS ANGELES — Sean “Diddy” Combs has admitted to physically assaulting his ex-girlfriend Cassie in a hotel hallway in 2016 after CNN released footage of the incident. In a video apology posted on Instagram and Facebook, Combs expressed regret for his actions, describing them as “inexcusable.”

“I take full responsibility for my actions in that video. I was disgusted then when I did it. I’m disgusted now,” the music mogul said in his statement posted on Sunday.

The security video, aired by CNN on Friday, shows Combs, clad only in a white towel, violently punching and kicking Cassie, an R&B singer who was his protégé and longtime girlfriend at the time. The footage also captures Combs shoving, dragging, and throwing a vase at Cassie.

Cassie, whose legal name is Cassandra Ventura, filed a lawsuit against Combs in November, alleging years of sexual, physical, and emotional abuse. The lawsuit was settled the following day, but it triggered intense scrutiny of Combs, leading to several additional lawsuits and a federal criminal sex-trafficking investigation. This investigation resulted in federal authorities raiding Combs’ mansions in Los Angeles and Miami.

Initially, Combs denied the allegations. His first public acknowledgment of the video came on Sunday, when he posted a video apology. “It’s so difficult to reflect on the darkest times in your life, but sometimes you got to do that,” Combs said. He added, “I sought professional help. I went to therapy, went 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 the video, Combs appears somber, wearing a T-shirt and speaking in a selfie-style video on a patio. This marks his most direct response and first apology following six months of allegations that have significantly damaged his reputation and career.

Meredith Firetog, the attorney representing Ventura and other women who have sued Combs, criticized the apology, calling it “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 said in a statement. “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.”

In December, after Ventura and at least three other women filed lawsuits against him, Combs posted a broad denial on Instagram, stating, “Let me be absolutely clear. I did not do any of the awful things being alleged.”

The security camera video, dated March 5, 2016, closely matches Ventura’s description of an incident at the InterContinental Hotel in Century City, Los Angeles, as detailed in her lawsuit. The lawsuit alleges that Combs paid the hotel $50,000 for the security footage immediately after the incident. Neither Combs nor his representatives have addressed this specific allegation, and CNN has not disclosed how it obtained the footage.

The lawsuit states that Ventura was trying to escape from a sleeping Combs, who had already punched her in the face before the video began.

Combs will not face criminal prosecution for the assault, as the statute of limitations for assault and battery charges has expired. Many of the allegations in the lawsuits are similarly beyond the statute of limitations, but federal investigators are likely seeking potential crimes they can prosecute under current laws.

Ventura signed with Combs’ label in 2005, and the two had an on-again-off-again romantic relationship for more than a decade starting in 2007. – AP