Cassie’s Suit Against Sean Combs May Cast Her Career in a New Light

Cassie, the singer, model and actress who is suing the music mogul Sean Combs for physical and sexual abuse, was supposed to be the next Britney Spears or Janet Jackson.

Such a high bar for success was set by Combs, who in addition to dating the singer for more than a decade beginning around 2007 was also her label boss at Bad Boy Records until 2019. “Those two great artists have paved the way,” Combs said in 2008, while hyping up the singer’s much-anticipated second album.

But it never came.

After a promising start to her career in pop and R&B — including an infectious debut single, “Me & U,” that peaked at No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 2006, and a well-reviewed first album — the singer, whose full name is Casandra Ventura, subsequently struggled for years to regain her footing as an artist. In pop music circles, she has long represented a “what if?” of unfulfilled artistic potential, even as she gained cult-favorite status among R&B obsessives and turned to releasing music independently.

Ventura’s lawsuit, filed in Federal District Court in Manhattan on Thursday, may cast her abbreviated career in a different, darker light. According to Ventura’s claims, Combs, whom she met when she was 19, began a pattern of control and abuse that fused the singer’s personal and professional life as he plied her with drugs, beat her and forced her to have sex with male prostitutes while he watched and recorded. As their relationship was ending in 2018, the suit says, he raped her after pushing his way into her home.

Through a lawyer, Combs, 54, has denied the accusations, calling the lawsuit “riddled with baseless and outrageous lies, aiming to tarnish Mr. Combs’s reputation and seeking a payday.”

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