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A timeline of allegations against Sean Combs

Bad Boy Records founder Sean "Diddy" Combs has been accused of sexual misconduct by five different people since November 2023.
Shareif Ziyadat
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Getty Images for Sean "Diddy" Combs
Bad Boy Records founder Sean "Diddy" Combs has been accused of sexual misconduct by five different people since November 2023.

In recent months, Sean "Diddy" Combs, the hip-hop billionaire who played a major role in commercializing rap, has become the subject of several civil suits accusing him of sexual misconduct, including rape and assault.

For many years, Combs represented affluence as he turned his stake in the Bad Boy Entertainment record label he founded into an empire that extended to fashion, media, liquor and beyond. "Whatever I want, I have to I get," he yelled in a clip from his 2017 documentary, Can't Stop, Won't Stop, after smashing things on his desk. What was initially seen as a fodder for the grindset from the ultimate hustler mogul now feels more like evidence of an aggressive, domineering disposition, one in line with the vicious person depicted in the filings.

A timeline of these events, dating back 30 years, juxtaposed with milestones from Combs' career, displays not only a chilling history of alleged violent behavior but the way power and celebrity have shielded him.

(Allegations from the civil suits appear italicized on the timeline.)


1990

Combs starts his music industry career as an intern at Uptown Records working under executive Andre Harrell.

1990/1991

According to a November 2023 lawsuit, Combs and the R&B singer Aaron Hall allegedly sexually assault an unnamed victim and a friend after a music industry event, then beat her several days later when confronted.

1991

According to a November 2023 lawsuit, Combs allegedly drugs, sexually assaults and videotapes 19-year-old Joi Dickerson, after going on a date with him.

1993

After being fired from his duties at Uptown Records, Combs starts his own label, Bad Boy Records. The label grows in popularity and notoriety over the course of the decade, breaking the careers of Craig Mack, The Notorious B.I.G, Mase, The Lox, Faith Evans and more.

1995-1996

According to a May 2024 lawsuit, Combs allegedly sexually assaulted April Lampros on several occasions. In one incident, she alleges he forced her to perform oral sex in a car, which she says was witnessed by a parking attendant. In another, she claims that he forced ecstasy down her throat, made her have sex with his then-girlfriend Kim Porter and then raped her.

1996

Combs is found guilty of criminal mischief for threatening a photographer from the New York Post with a gun.

1998

Combs starts throwing his annual Hamptons all-white parties that come to be known as so lavish and exclusive, he earns the rep of being a "modern-day Gatsby." Guests range from music industry execs and artists to actors, real estate moguls and sports team owners.

April 16, 1999

Combs is arrested and charged with two felonies — second-degree assault and criminal mischief — in the beating of record executive Steve Stoute, who says Combs and two bodyguards beat him with their fists, a telephone, a champagne bottle and a chair. When Combs publicly apologizes, Stoute asks for the charges to be dismissed. (Combs reportedly pays Stoute $500,000.) The assault charge is dropped, Combs pleads guilty to the lesser charge of harassment, and he is sentenced to one day of anger management classes.

Dec. 27, 1999

Combs, along with then-girlfriend Jennifer Lopez and rapper Shyne, are arrested in relation to a shooting at Club New York. Combs is charged for weapons violations but is ultimately acquitted.

March 2000

The first season of Making The Band airs on ABC, then later MTV. The reality TV competition centers Combs as he searches for new talent to put together in a band. Running for 12 seasons total, the show later became a cultural staple for MTV, and, through it, Combs created bands like Day26 and Danity Kane, all signed to Bad Boy Records.

2000-2001

According to a May 2024 lawsuit, Combs allegedly attacked April Lampros again in her apartment.

March 26, 2001

In a lawsuit, local TV host Roger Mills sues Combs, accusing him of assault, false imprisonment, destruction of property, intentional infliction of emotional distress and a civil conspiracy, in an exchange where Combs' entourage roughed him up and destroyed his camera. "As we have yet to be served with this complaint, we are unable to comment on specific allegations," a Combs spokesperson said in a statement. "However, any claim that Mr. Combs participated in any wrongdoing is totally false. Furthermore, facilitating the press with this baseless complaint is a blatant attempt to exploit Mr. Combs' celebrity for media attention." A jury finds in favor of Combs in 2004.

2003

According to a December 2023 lawsuit, Combs, his former Bad Boy Records president, Harve Pierre, and a third unidentified man allegedly gangrape an unnamed 17-year-old victim at a Manhattan recording studio.

2003

According to a May 2024 lawsuit, Combs allegedly drugged and sexually assaulted the then-22-year-old model Crystal McKinney in his New York City studio forcing her to perform oral sex.

July 6, 2004

Combs arrives at his annual Hamptons all-white party in possession of the Declaration of Independence, marking a new level of fortune and braggadocio for the mogul.

2005

Combs and the singer Cassie Ventura meet for the first time and Combs expresses interest in wanting to sign her to his label. Ventura is 19 years old and Combs is 37.

February 2006

Ventura signed a 10-album deal with Bad Boy Entertainment. Her debut single "Me & U" is released and her self-titled album drops the same year. According to a November 2023 lawsuit, Combs' "vicious cycle of abuse" begins here.

Ventura alleges years of physical, psychological and emotional abuse. She claims Combs forced her to purchase and take illegal drugs like cocaine, ketamine and ecstasy; that he filmed her as he forced her to participate in sex with male sex workers in multiple cities for his own voyeuristic pleasure in a practice he called "freak offs"; and that he beat her on many occasions in retaliation for talking to other men, often with witnesses present.

Oct. 24, 2007

Combs becomes a marketing ambassador and stakeholder in Ciroc Vodka by beverage maker Diageo. Sales of the vodka skyrocket and Combs becomes synonymous with the brand.

March 6, 2007

In a lawsuit, Gerard Rechnitzer alleges that Combs punched him, pushed his girlfriend and tried to spit on another woman outside Teddy's nightclub at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. In a statement, Combs' attorney, Benjamin Brafman, says, "It's just another example of an opportunist seeking to fabricate a lawsuit based on a flat-out lie to try to take advantage of Mr. Combs' celebrity status." The case is settled out of court in March 2008, the terms undisclosed.

May 11, 2007

In a complaint to the police, Combs' Making the Band co-star Laurieann Gibson alleges that he threatened her with a chair while New Edition's Michael Bivins held her in place. Combs' attorney, Brafman, claims Gibson overreacted to theatrics performed for the cameras. (Sources claimed to The New York Daily News that he yelled for the cameras to be turned off.) "This is just another example of a false accusation by someone trying to take advantage of Sean's success and celebrity status," Brafman says.

2010

In the November 2023 suit, Ventura claims all aspects of her life were "controlled by either Mr. Combs or his management companies." She claims he paid for her apartment and all living expenses and that he had access to her medical records: "For instance, when Ms. Ventura began experiencing memory loss — potentially due to excessive drug use and/or head injuries caused by Mr. Combs's beatings, as described below — her MRI results were provided directly to Mr. Combs. Mr. Combs also repeatedly arranged for his staff to drive Ms. Ventura to certain doctors' appointments. In this way, Mr. Combs exerted ownership over Ms. Ventura."

February 2012

In the November 2023 suit, Ventura alleges that Combs said he was going to blow up the car of rapper Kid Cudi, whom Ventura was dating at the time, "and that he wanted to ensure that Kid Cudi was home with his friends when it happened. Around that time, Kid Cudi's car exploded in his driveway."

Kid Cudi, in a statement to The New York Times, corroborated the account.

Oct. 21, 2013

Combs launches his cable news network, Revolt TV. The network later expands into the radio, digital and film space.

Jan. 8, 2014

Combs announces a new joint venture with Diageo, DeLeon Tequila, and again becomes synonymous with a liquor brand.

2015

Combs celebrates the 20th anniversary of Bad Boy Records with a box set and a tour featuring the label's legacy signees.

September 2018

After multiple attempts to sever ties with Combs, Ventura says she met with him to have dinner and believed it was to talk of concluding her Bad Boy contract and "have a discussion about concluding their relationship for good." But after the dinner, Ventura alleged he forced himself into her apartment and forcibly raped her.

From her November 2023 suit: "Soon thereafter, Ms. Ventura took steps to completely separate herself from her long-time abuser, including by leaving the home that he paid for and returning the car he purchased for her."

June 26, 2022

Combs receives a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2022 BET Awards and performs a medley of his hits with special guest stars during the awards ceremony.

Oct. 28, 2022

Forbes reports that Combs is a certified billionaire thanks to his deals with Diageo, Revolt TV and music business ventures.

2022 - 2023

In a February 2024 lawsuit, producer Rodney "Lil Rod" Jones, a former producer of Combs who worked with him on his latest release, The Love Album: Off the Grid, alleges that the music mogul groped him repeatedly and during the duration of making the album, Combs forced Jones to solicit sex workers, take illegal drugs and more.

The suit names others close to Combs, including Combs' son, Justin Dior Combs, and high-ranking members of Motown Records and Universal Music Group, as co-defendants.

Sept. 15, 2023

Combs receives a key to the city from New York Mayor Eric Adams.

Nov. 16, 2023

Ventura accuses Diddy of years of sexual misconduct, harassment, sex trafficking and rape. Ventura's allegations lasted for the entirety of their working and personal relationship.

Ventura files the civil suit in New York Superior Court under the state's Adult Survivors Act, a New York law permitting victims of sexual abuse a one-year window to file civil action regardless of the statute of limitations of the crimes themselves. (Tiffany Red, a songwriter and one of Cassie's collaborators, later publicly corroborates her claims.)

Combs, via his attorney, Benjamin Brafman, told The New York Times, "Mr. Combs vehemently denies these offensive and outrageous allegations. For the past six months, Mr. Combs has been subjected to Ms. Ventura's persistent demand of $30 million, under the threat of writing a damaging book about their relationship, which was unequivocally rejected as blatant blackmail.

Despite withdrawing her initial threat, Ms. Ventura has now resorted to filing a lawsuit riddled with baseless and outrageous lies, aiming to tarnish Mr. Combs's reputation and seeking a payday."

One day after the public filing of her suit, Ventura and Combs settle outside of court for an undisclosed amount.

In a statement, Ventura says, "I have decided to resolve this matter amicably on terms that I have some level of control" while Combs' statement read "I wish Cassie and her family all the best. Love."

Nov. 23, 2023

One day before the window for filing suits under the Adult Survivors Act is set to close, two separate lawsuits alleging misconduct in the early 1990s are filed against Combs in New York Superior Court: one by Joi Dickerson and the other by an unnamed plaintiff.

Nov. 28, 2023

Combs temporarily steps down as chairman of Revolt TV amid the lawsuits.

Dec. 6, 2023

The unnamed fourth person comes forward accusing Combs and others of gang rape in 2003.

Dec. 6, 2023

After only speaking through his attorney up until this point, Combs denies the accusations via his Instagram account, writing "Enough is Enough."

Dec. 10, 2023

In response to the accusations, 18 brands sever ties with Combs' Black-owned e-commerce venture, Empower Global.

Dec. 11, 2023

A public petition started by feminist and survivor advocacy group UltraViolet circulates calling The Recording Academy to rescind Combs' 2024 Grammy nomination for progressive R&B album amid the sexual abuse allegations.

Dec. 11, 2023

The Recording Academy releases a statement in response to Diddy's 2024 Grammy nomination and the allegations: "We are taking this matter very seriously and we are in the process of evaluating it with the time and care that it deserves."

Dec. 13, 2023

In response to the accusations, streaming network Hulu scrapsa reality show project featuring Combs that was previously in development and centered around the mogul and his family.

Jan. 12, 2024

A representative for Combs tells The Hollywood Reporter the mogul won't be in attendance at the Grammys. He was subsequently absent from the ceremony and all public events leading up to the awards.

Jan. 16, 2024

Diageo and Combs resolve their legal lawsuit around marketing of products and officially end their working relationship.

Feb. 26, 2024

The fifth assault lawsuit is filed against Combs by Rodney "Lil Rod" Jones. Combs' lawyer denies the allegations, claiming, "We have overwhelming, indisputable proof that his claims are complete lies."

March 25, 2024

Homes in Los Angeles and Miami associated with Combs are raided by federal agents, including Homeland Security Investigative officials, as part of what authorities referred to as "an ongoing investigation."

May 17, 2024

Video surveillance of Combs assaulting Ventura is released. The video footage, published by CNN and dated March 2016, appears to show Combs chasing Ventura down the hallway of the InterContinental Hotel in Los Angeles while wearing only a towel and socks and repeatedly hitting and kicking her while she lies on the floor. Combs is also seen attempting to drag Ventura by the shirt down the hallway and throwing objects at her.

This video seems to corroborate one of the claims of abuse Ventura made in her November 2023 lawsuit against Combs, an attack she described that resulted in her getting a black eye.

May 19, 2024

In a sudden and surprising turn, Combs posts a video on his Instagram account in response to the surveillance video of Ventura's assault, admitting he is the man attacking her in the video and saying he is "truly sorry."

"My behavior on that video is inexcusable," he says to the camera. "I take full responsibility for my actions in that video. ... I was disgusted then when I did it. I'm disgusted now."

Combs does not name Ventura (or any other accuser or plaintiff in the current slew of pending lawsuits) and states that he is not asking for forgiveness. He claims to have gone to therapy, rehab and asked "God for his mercy and grace."

Ventura's lawyers release a statement in response to Combs' video the same day, saying, "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."

May 22, 2024

The sixth assault lawsuit is filed against Combs by Crystal McKinney. Combs' Bad Boy Entertainment label, its parent company Universal Music Group and his Sean John clothing company are also named in the suit.

May 24, 2024

The seventh assault lawsuit is filed against Combs by April Lampros in New York County Supreme Court. Bad Boy Entertainment and Arista Records are also named in the suit.

Copyright 2024 NPR

Sidney Madden
Sidney Madden is a reporter and editor for NPR Music. As someone who always gravitated towards the artforms of music, prose and dance to communicate, Madden entered the world of music journalism as a means to authentically marry her passions and platform marginalized voices who do the same.
Sheldon Pearce
[Copyright 2024 NPR]