Diddy assault video cements his fall from grace



Shareif Ziyadat File photo of Sean "Diddy" CombsShareif Ziyadat

CCTV video footage of Sean "Diddy" Combs kicking his former girlfriend Cassie Ventura, as she lay motionless on the floor, has confirmed his downfall in the music industry. The clip, obtained by CNN and published last week, shows Combs kicking Ventura like a football, wearing just a towel, dragging her across the floor. The video appears to be a compilation of surveillance footage angles dated 5 March 2016, which CNN said was filmed at the InterContinental Hotel in Century City, Los Angeles. In her lawsuit, Ventura had described a March 2016 incident at that hotel, in which Combs allegedly attacked her.

A string of other lawsuits have since been brought against Combs for abuse, sexual misconduct, and rape. The latest was filed on Tuesday by Crystal McKinney, a former model and winner of MTV's 1998 Model Mission competition. She claimed she was "drugged and sexually assaulted" in 2003 by Combs following a fashion event in New York. BBC News has contacted Diddy's representatives for comment on the claims.

Combs did not mention Cassie Ventura in his apology, and her lawyers hit back, saying: "Combs' recent statement is more about himself than the many people he has hurt." Camron Dowlatshahi, an entertainment lawyer in Los Angeles, described the statement as "the most ill-advised apology ever". She suggested it was from the "classic 'famous man' playbook: deny, deny, deny. Get caught. Apologise, then talk about going to therapy."

The Los Angeles District Attorney's Office said on Friday that it would not be able to bring charges due to the statute of limitations for assault. So where does the CCTV video and the ongoing investigation leave his career? In his music, Diddy has often relied on collaborations with other A-list stars. His last album featured Mary J Blige, The Weekend, 21 Savage, and John Legend. He is extremely unlikely to be able to recreate such productions now.

Family pictures with his daughters posted to Combs' Instagram account are in stark contrast to the images of him carrying out a violent assault. The Los Angeles District Attorney's Office said on Friday that it would not be able to bring charges due to the statute of limitations for assault.

The impact of the CCTV video and the ongoing police investigation on Combs' career is less clear. Fitness company Peloton has banned his music from its workout playlists already, but other companies are yet to comment. R Kelly continues to get millions of monthly listeners on Spotify, despite convictions for child sexual abuse. Kanye West experienced a peak in his monthly listeners last year, despite being dropped by brands for expressing antisemitic views.

Those who passed by Diddy's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame this week reflected on what the video meant to the rapper's fans. Mar Anthony, a Los Angeles local, said "It's career-ending. I don't know how he's going to come back from this," while Prince Laurenz Hamlin said "he still has built a legacy in the music industry.

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