Sean 'Diddy' Combs goes by many names. After Cassie video, add 'abuser' to the list.

Hip-hop mogul Sean Combs goes by several different names. “Puff Daddy," “P. Diddy,” “Diddy” and “Puffy." Now you can add “woman beater” to the list.

A video obtained and broadcast by CNN on Friday shows the rap icon kicking and dragging his then-girlfriend, Cassie Ventura, at the now-closed InterContinental Hotel in Century City, Los Angeles.

The surveillance footage, dated March 5, 2016, shows multiple camera angles capturing the incident. Notably, the video lacks audio, forcing us to rely solely on the visual evidence of Comb’s actions.

Ventura exits a hotel room and walks toward the elevators. Combs, who only has a towel around his waist, gives chase. He grabs Ventura by the back of her neck and slings her to the ground. Still holding his towel with one hand, he then kicks Ventura twice while she’s on the ground. He then picks up her bag and purse and attempts to drag her back to his hotel room by the neck of her sweatshirt. Combs walks back toward his room as Ventura is seen picking up a hotel phone.

According to CNN, in her lawsuit, Ventura claims before Combs attacked her in the hallway, he got intoxicated and punched her in the face, giving her a black eye. When she attempted to leave the hotel room, he snapped.

Sean 'Diddy' Combs and Cassie Ventura in Los Angeles in 2016. Superstar rapper and music industry mogul Sean Combs was sued November 16 by the singer Cassie, who accused him of rape and physical abuse. In 2024, he has apologized after video emerged that appeared to show him physically assaulting her.
Sean 'Diddy' Combs and Cassie Ventura in Los Angeles in 2016. Superstar rapper and music industry mogul Sean Combs was sued November 16 by the singer Cassie, who accused him of rape and physical abuse. In 2024, he has apologized after video emerged that appeared to show him physically assaulting her.

Why did it take a video for us to believe Cassie Ventura?

The video is certainly disturbing, but what is even more alarming is the fact that it took a video for people to finally believe that Ventura was being abused.

When individuals in abusive relationships dare to speak out, it is crucial that we believe and support them and not wait.

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Since the video's release, Combs issued an apology, calling his behavior on that video “inexcusable.”

“I was disgusted then when I did it. I’m disgusted now,” Combs added. “I went and I sought out professional help. I got into going to therapy going to rehab. I had to ask God for his mercy and grace. I’m so sorry. But I’m committed to be a better man each and every day. I’m not asking for forgiveness. I’m truly sorry.”

Combs’ apology fits the script of most abusers. I feel horrible. I’m seeking counseling. Insert any number of platitudes here.

Remember, Ventura filed a lawsuit against Combs in November, alleging that she was raped and subjected to years of repeated physical and other abuses by Combs.

At the time, Combs' attorney called Ventura’s allegations outrageous, and he accused her of threats to write a damaging book about Combs if she wasn’t given $30 million. However, Combs settled the suit faster than Biggie Smalls could crush 14 rap bars.

“We have decided to resolve this matter amicably. I wish Cassie and her family all the best. Love,” Combs said in a statement.

Rich and powerful people like Sean Combs can hide abuse

Natalie Hayden, co-host of "ExPOSED The Podcast," part of a Milwaukee nonprofit that focuses on supporting survivors of domestic abuse, found the video troubling for several reasons. She was concerned that many people did not believe Ventura's claims until the video was released. She also knows that someone as rich and powerful as Combs can do things to hide abuse.

Hayden said it takes a lot of courage for a victim of abuse to come forward, and when they do, we should believe them.

I was raped 22 years ago. My rapist was convicted – but most aren't so lucky.

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, the most dangerous time for a woman suffering from domestic abuse is when she decides to leave. On average, in the United States, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner. This equates to more than 10 million women and men a year.

Combs has power and success and a net worth of an estimated $800 million. Some might have believed that this would make it impossible for him to be abusive, but Hayden said that there is no one-size-fits-all for an abuser or a person being abused. "ExPOSED" uses its platform to have difficult conversations:

  • If you are being abused, where can you go?

  • How do you put together an exit plan?

  • How do you leave when you have children?

  • What happens if you go to a shelter that doesn’t meet your needs?

The key is not to let the abuse fester and make you feel like you have no way out. The moment you give up is when the abuser wins, Hayden said.

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Combs has been roundly condemned on social media

Since the video came out last Friday, many celebrities have condemned Combs. Here’s what a few had to say on social media:

  • “When I saw that video I was disgusted and disappointed. Diddy needs his ass beat.”Charlamagne tha God, co-host of the nationally syndicated "The Breakfast Club."

  • “Now I’m sure puffy didn’t do it, he is innocent this proves nothing! This is what his lawyers are going to say, God help us all.” – rapper and hip-hop mogul 50 Cent.

  • “Damn Diddy. I tried to ride with the BLK man, who had no charges yet, but I can’t stand behind this. I will take this L.” – rapper Slim Thug.

  • “As a Father to Daughters and Young Men, he must take real time to atone for his and all the souls he has affected. It’s the kinda damage that permeates generations.”comedian Cedric the Entertainer.

  • The career of Sean P. Diddy Combs as we know it is over. ... It’s over in the worst possible way, one of the worst possible ways you can imagine. … No wonder he settled the case with Cassie Ventura one day after she had filed the suit against him.”Stephen A. Smith, host of "First Take" on ESPN.

Combs' legal issues are far from over. The release of the video comes on the heels of other allegations in civil lawsuits of the mogul being involved in sex trafficking and sexual abuse.

In March, Homeland Security agents searched his Los Angeles and Miami homes. He was not arrested or charged with a crime, and his lawyer maintains his client's innocence.

Combs will endure public shame and lose out on some endorsement opportunities, but the scars he left on Ventura won't fade as quickly as a 24-hour news cycle.

I hope Combs is committed to being a better man, as he said in his apology video, but I doubt it. Combs is a liar, and he would still be lying to his fans and anyone who would listen if that video had not been released.

James E. Causey is an Ideas Lab reporter at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, where this column originally appeared. Email him at or follow him on X: @jecausey

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This article originally appeared on Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Diddy hotel video shows clear abuse. Why didn't we believe Cassie?