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Sean 'Diddy' Combs is accused of sexual assault by male music producer


Sean "Diddy" Combs is accused, again, of sexual misconduct. One of his former music producers has filed a lawsuit which adds to other lawsuits. Some of the details that NPR music correspondent Sidney Madden is about to discuss in the next four minutes or so are graphic, so be warned, we'll still be here in four minutes if you need to go away. Sidney, good morning.


INSKEEP: People know the name. People know the nicknames. People know he's got hit records. But I feel like that doesn't capture the full picture here. Who is the man at the center of this?

MADDEN: Sean "Diddy" Combs is an enormous power figure in the music industry, dating back decades as a music producer, an artist himself. He was responsible for the careers of Notorious B.I.G., Mary J. Blige and many others. He's a certified hit maker in the scene.

INSKEEP: Yeah. And so you got power not only to raise yourself, but to raise other people. So what is the lawsuit against him?

MADDEN: This lawsuit details events that Jones, the producer, is alleging took place from 2022 to 2023 while he was working on Diddy's latest album, "The Love Album." Now, during that time, Jones says he was witness to many illegal activities, including a shooting at a recording studio. He says he was groped by Combs and sexually propositioned by people on behalf of Combs, that he was drugged and forced to have sex with sex workers. And on top of all this, Jones is claiming he was never paid properly for his work on the album, so he is suing for $30 million. Diddy's lawyer, in response, has denied all these claims made by Jones, and he says her - and she says her team has, quote, "overwhelming, indisputable proof that his claims are complete lies." And I should say, to date, Diddy has denied all allegations.

INSKEEP: OK. So let's get some of the background here of this accuser, Rodney "Lil Rod" Jones Jr., a long-standing associate of Sean "Diddy" Combs or not?

MADDEN: No, not exactly. Lil Rod only worked for Combs for about a year. According to this suit, he says he was hired to produce Combs' latest album and also to video the production process for behind the scenes. So he lived in - he lived on Diddy's properties, which is how he was in so - such close proximity to the mogul for that year.

INSKEEP: Interesting insight into how he works, that somebody who's not a very longtime employee is actually living on Diddy's properties. How does this lawsuit fit into the other lawsuit that Combs has faced?

MADDEN: So this is the fifth sexual assault suit filed against Combs since late last year. And there are some similarities between Jones' allegations and another one filed, the one that really started these landslide of cases. And that's Cassie Ventura's. Cassie is a well-known R&B singer and Diddy's former longtime girlfriend. She accused him of over a decade of abuse. And similar to Jones, they were both people very close in Diddy's circle who worked under him. Some of the things that Jones is accusing Combs of ring very similar to Cassie when we talk about illicit drug use and sex trafficking. But the aspects that are different are that this is recent history and this is the first man to accuse Diddy.

INSKEEP: And how do these accusations fit into the larger debate about sexual misconduct in hip-hop?

MADDEN: Yeah. It's worth noting that not - it's not only Diddy named in this suit, but it's also members of his executive staff and CEOs at Motown Records and Universal, so that this shows that if it's true, it's an industry upheld pattern of abuse that is looking to be addressed in this lawsuit.

INSKEEP: Sidney Madden, NPR music correspondent. Thanks so much.

MADDEN: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Steve Inskeep
Steve Inskeep is a host of NPR's Morning Edition, as well as NPR's morning news podcast Up First.
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.