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Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs credited Cassie for helping him through ‘dark times’ in 2022 BET Award speech

<i>John Salangsang/Shutterstock via CNN Newsource</i><br/>Babyface and Kanye West presented Sean
John Salangsang/Shutterstock via CNN Newsource
Babyface and Kanye West presented Sean "Diddy" Combs a lifetime achievement award at the BET Awards in June 2022.

By Lisa Respers France, CNN

(CNN) — When Sean “Diddy” Combs was presented with a lifetime achievement recognition at the BET Awards in 2022, his former girlfriend, Cassie Ventura, was among the people he thanked.

“I’mma keep it a hundred with y’all, I was in a dark place for a few years,” Combs said at the time. “And also Cassie for holding me down in the dark times. Love.”

The moment has been revisited through a different lens since Ventura first came forward in November with allegations of rape and abuse against Combs in a since-settled lawsuit and CNN’s publication on Friday of video showing Combs physically assaulting her in 2016.

Combs and Ventura dated off and on from 2007 to 2018. In her complaint that was settled with in a day of its filing, Ventura alleged Combs raped her in 2018 and subjected her to years of repeated physical and other abuses over the course of their relationship.

“A decision to settle a lawsuit, especially in 2023, is in no way an admission of wrongdoing,” Ben Brafman, an attorney for Combs, told CNN in a statement in November. “Mr. Combs‘ decision to settle the lawsuit does not in any way undermine his flat-out denial of the claims. He is happy they got to a mutual settlement and wishes Ms. Ventura the best.”

However, Combs apologized Sunday for his actions in the video.

Ventura’s allegations had not yet surfaced publicly in 2022, when Combs accepted the BET Award meant to mark his decades of success in the music industry.

That night he came out on stage with much exuberance and to a standing ovation. His then-girlfriend, rapper Yung Miami, held up a red sign while in the audience which read “Go Papi” and he had the family support of his mother, Janice Combs, and two of his sons, Christian Combs and Justin Combs, who were also present.

Diddy responded to the warm welcome on stage by yelling, “What up though?!”

He began by thanking God.

“Anything I do is through God,” Combs said. “Anything I do is through love. That’s what I evolve to be. And that’s what I’m doing right now.”

Combs legally changed his middle name to “Love” in 2020.

During his speech, he also thanked his mother, his former mentor, the late Andre Harrell, and the late rapper, the Notorious B.I.G.

But it was his “shout out” to Ventura – coming about 17 months before she filed her lawsuit – that has sparked new conversation and comments on social media now describing his reference to her that night as “diabolical” and “narcissistic.”

Combs released a video apology on Sunday in which he called his behavior toward Ventura in the 2016 surveillance footage “inexcusable.”

“It’s so difficult to reflect on the darkest times in your life, but sometimes you got to do that,” Combs said in his video statement posted to Instagram. “I was f**ked up — I hit rock bottom — but I make no excuses. My behavior on that video is inexcusable.”

He continued: “I take full responsibility for my actions in that video. I am disgusted. I was disgusted then when I did it. I’m disgusted now.”

This time, Combs did not mention Ventura by name.

Their November 2023 settlement states that neither of them can speak about each other in any way, according to multiple sources familiar with the agreement.

“He’s not allowed to say Cassie’s name,” a source familiar with the terms of the settlement told CNN on Monday.

Meredith Firetog, an attorney for Ventura, said in a statement that the apology was “more about himself than the many people he has hurt.”

CNN’s Elizabeth Wagmeister contributed to this story.

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