Howard University ends ties with Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs over assault video

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Howard University has rescinded the honorary degree given to musician and businessman Sean “Diddy” Combs, saying his behavior in a video that showed him assaulting his former girlfriend meant he was “no longer worthy to hold the institution’s highest honor.”

The university’s board of trustees “voted unanimously” to accept the return of Combs’s honorary degree, and directed the university to disband a scholarship program in his name and cancel a 2016 “gift agreement” where Combs had pledged to give $1 million to the university, the university said in a statement Friday.

The university said that Combs’s “behavior as captured in a recently released video” was “fundamentally incompatible with Howard University’s core values and beliefs,” adding that the institution “is unwavering in its opposition to all acts of interpersonal violence.”

Combs attended Howard; he did not graduate but was given an honorary degree in 2014, and gave the commencement speech that same year.

In May, security footage surfaced that showed Combs assaulting singer and former girlfriend Cassie Ventura at a Los Angeles hotel in 2016, throwing her to the floor and kicking her, before dragging her away off-screen.

Combs apologized after the video was published by CNN, saying in a video posted to his Instagram account that his behavior was “inexcusable” and that he took “full responsibility” for his actions.

When the video emerged, Ventura’s attorney said it confirmed allegations she made against Combs in a now-settled lawsuit, which accused the hip-hop mogul of physical and sexual abuse. According to the lawsuit, Combs paid the hotel where the incident took place $50,000 for the security footage.

At the time of the lawsuit, Combs’s attorney said the allegations were “outrageous lies” and that the mogul’s decision to settle the lawsuit did not change his “flat-out denial” of the claims.

After the video was published, Ventura released a statement that did not mention Combs directly, but thanked her supporters. “Domestic Violence is THE issue … with a lot of hard work, I am better today, but I will always be recovering from my past,” she wrote on Instagram. “My only ask is that EVERYONE open your heart to believing victims the first time.”

Combs faces a slew of lawsuits, including accusations of sexual assault, violent behavior and sex trafficking, spanning decades. Combs has not been charged with any crimes and has denied all wrongdoing. An attorney representing him previously said the rapper “views these lawsuits as a money grab.”

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