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B Side, Culture, Music

Diddy is One in Millions of Abusers Exploiting a Misogynistic System Rigged in their Favour

Diddy is one face in a gallery of powerful men who exploit a system rigged in their favor.

  • Melony Akpoghene
  • 18th May 2024
Diddy is One in Millions of Abusers Exploiting a Misogynistic System Rigged in their Favour

In November 2023, Cassie Ventura, singer and former girlfriend of music mogul Sean “Diddy” Combs, filed a lawsuit alleging years of physical and sexual abuse. The lawsuit detailed disturbing incidents including Combs coercing her into sex with male prostitutes and exploiting his influential connections in the entertainment industry to manipulate and control her. The alleged abuse began in 2007, when Ventura was 19 and Combs was 37, and continued intermittently until 2018. It also included an alleged assault at a Los Angeles hotel where Diddy, according to the complaint, punched Cassie in the face and threw her around the hallway. Ventura claims that Combs paid $50,000 to obtain the security footage from the hotel. The case settled the very next day. Now, months later, security footage from the hotel has resurfaced, confirming the brutal details of Cassie’s accusations.



Since the 2023 lawsuit, Combs has faced a string of similar allegations, including rape, physical violence, sexual assault, and the weaponization of intimate photos. Two women came forward with allegations of sexual assault and revenge porn against him. One of the alleged victims, Joi Dickerson-Neal, who appeared in several of the rapper’s music videos in the early 1990s, claims that in 1991, Combs drugged her drink, leaving her incapacitated and unable to stand or walk independently. 


A third alleged victim, identified as Jane Doe, filed a lawsuit against Combs on November 23, 2023, alleging that she and her friend were raped by Combs and singer-songwriter Aaron Hall after meeting them at a club in 1990 or 1991. According to the lawsuit, obtained by The New York Post, the two men took turns assaulting the women. Two months ago, federal agents raided his homes in California and Florida as part of a sex trafficking investigation. Despite his lawyer stating Combs spoke with authorities, Combs wasn’t arrested, charged, or restricted from travel. Diddy is one in a million men who are perpetrators of physical and sexual abuse against women, and one face in a gallery of powerful men who exploit a system rigged in their favor. 


Wealthy, powerful men are far too often insulated from the consequences of their violence against women. The list of famous men with documented histories of abuse is long and sickening. They consistently and continually exploit patriarchal structures to silence and control women. They occupy positions of power within a social hierarchy, and to believe their victims is to challenge this very structure. Which is why their careers can weather a storm of abuse allegations and convictions, often with the justification that “he’s too talented” or “he’s made significant contributions.” At the 2023 GRAMMYs, Hip-hop businessman Dr. Dre received the GRAMMYs’ inaugural Dr. Dre Global Impact Award, “for his multitude of achievements through his innovative, multi-decade career.” But in 1991, Dr. Dre punched journalist Dee Barnes repeatedly, and then threw her through a bathroom door before throwing her down a flight of stairs.  Ms. Barnes sued Dre and the case was later settled out of court. Dre responded at the time in a Rolling Stone interview stating, “I just did it, you know. Ain’t nothing you can do now by talking about it. Besides, it ain’t no big deal, I just threw her through a door.” Also, in court documents filed at the end of 2020, Dre’s ex-wife, Nicole Young, accused him of multiple instances of abuse over the course of their relationship, including punching her “in the head/face” in 1999 and holding a gun to her head in 2000 and 2001. 


Celebrity culture shields famous individuals, but famous men get away with far more than famous women ever could. Zeba Blay agrees, writing thatcelebrity culture caters almost entirely to men, from the objectification of women to the fetishization of male wealth and power. The power of the male celebrity, then, lies in a culture designed to applaud and protect these men, to keep their power intact but silencing those who threaten it.” 


The outrage currently surrounding Diddy feels muted compared to the fervor with which some defend demonstrably abusive men. The inherent societal disdain for women positions women as less than, their experiences minimized, dismissed, mocked. 




This ingrained prejudice allows abusers to operate with impunity, secure in the knowledge that their actions might be inconvenient for a short moment, but rarely career-ending: Nelly, Brymo, Kodak Black, Woody Allen, Sean Penn, Peruzzi, Nicolas Cage, Chris Brown, Trey Songz, D’Banj, and many more. Others like Kobe Bryant, Michael Jackson, XXXTentacion, Tupac, Notorious B.I.G are still revered even in death. In 2022, “African Giant” Burna Boy and Ghanaian rapper Shatta Wale casually traded rape accusations and admissions on X (formerly Twitter) without any consequences. Burna Boy’s career even continues to flourish.


A lot of these famous and wealthy men have disproportionately escaped accountability for allegations of sexual misconduct and abuse, using their status and influence to silence victims and avoid consequences. It took nearly three decades for R. Kelly, Harvey Weinstein, and Bill Cosby to face legal justice. But even with legal justice, there’s never a complete cultural cancellation that ensures that these men are really punished. Attention spans are short, public outrage fades, and the perpetrators can slip back into positions of power. Die-hard fans may even advocate their acquittal, as seen with the “Free Tory Lanez” movement, one that Drake himself subscribes to


Diddy’s public persona and influence have long allowed him to cultivate a loyal following and gloss over a history of controversial behavior. The allure of his luxurious lifestyle and high-profile connections blinded many to the darker aspects of his character, enabling him to continue his harmful behavior unchecked.


Even now, as the truth about his crimes begins to surface, excuses will be made. The industry will likely follow suit, continuing to celebrate him and reward him with accolades and opportunities. Although Kyndall Cunningham opines that Diddy’s reputation as a charming, untouchable figure made his downfall seem unlikely, but his reckoning, alongside Tory Lanez’s conviction, signals a potential shift in the industry’s tolerance for abusive behavior, just like Dr Dre and the countless others, it is very likely that Diddy’s career will continue to soar. 

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