Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs Returns Honorary Key to NYC at Mayor’s Request

Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs Returns Honorary Key to NYC at Mayor’s Request
Producer-musician Sean "Diddy" Combs poses with the Global Icon award in the press room during the MTV Video Music Awards at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J., on Sept. 12, 2023. (Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty Images)

At the request of Mayor Eric Adams, Sean “Diddy” Combs has relinquished his honorary key to New York City following a series of sexual assault allegations levied against him.

On June 4, Mr. Adams sent letters to the 54-year-old rapper’s New York and California offices requesting the return of the symbolic key. City Hall received the key six days later.

According to Mr. Adams, the decision to rescind the Key to the City was made after video footage surfaced from 2016 showing Mr. Combs physically assaulting his then-girlfriend, R&B singer Cassie Ventura.

“I strongly condemn these actions and stand in solidarity with all survivors of domestic and gender-based violence,” the mayor wrote. “Our city has worked tirelessly to make sure survivors are heard and seen by our administration,” he added, noting that he was “deeply disturbed” by the video.

“The Key to the City of New York is presented to individuals whose service to the public and the common good rises to the highest level of achievement, and who act as a model for fellow and future New Yorkers,” he wrote. “After internal deliberations, the Key to the City of New York committee recommended nullifying and rescinding Mr. Combs’ key. I have accepted their recommendation.”

Key to the City

Mr. Combs, who was born and raised in the Harlem neighborhood of the city, was awarded the Big Apple’s Key to the City in September 2023 “for decades of contributions to music and business [and] philanthropic support to underserved communities,” per a press release.

“Sean Combs is the embodiment of the New York City attitude. A son of Harlem, Combs worked his way to the top, becoming a successful musical talent both in front of and behind the mic,” Mr. Adams said in a statement at the time. “Despite all of his successes, Sean has never forgotten where he came from—giving back to New York City, donating millions to underserved communities, and supporting aspiring Black entrepreneurs.”

In response, Mr. Combs said receiving the prestigious award was “an honor and incredible moment” in his life.

“From growing up on the streets of Harlem to the international stage—New York’s energy and resilience have always been the backdrop of my story. This city has given me triumphs, life lessons, and love,” the rapper said. “Today, I accept this key not just for me, but for every dreamer, every hustler, every artist, and every kid from New York who dares to dream big.”

He added: “To Mayor Adams and the City of New York: I promise to keep giving to this city that made me. Thank you for recognizing my journey and my mission to uplift and empower. Let’s continue to make history together.”

Mr. Adams’ call to rescind the key to New York City mirrors a decision made by Howard University on June 7.

The board of trustees for the historically black university voted unanimously to accept the return of an honorary degree it awarded the music mogul in 2014, similarly attributing its decision to the 2016 footage.

“Mr. Combs’ behavior as captured in a recently released video is so fundamentally incompatible with Howard University’s core values and beliefs that he is deemed no longer worthy to hold the institution’s highest honor,” a statement issued by the school reads. “The University is unwavering in its opposition to all acts of interpersonal violence.”

2016 Footage

Mr. Combs and Ms. Ventura were romantically involved for about a decade, dating on and off from 2007 to 2018.

In November 2023, the 37-year-old singer filed a federal lawsuit against Mr. Combs, alleging that he physically and sexually abused her during their relationship. Mr. Combs denied the allegations, and Ms. Ventura subsequently dropped the case after a settlement was reached out of court.

Months later, Mr. Combs took to Instagram to issue an apology for his actions after CNN published the 2016 footage, which appears to show the rapper kicking and dragging Ms. Ventura in the hallway of a Los Angeles hotel.

“It’s so difficult to reflect on the darkest times in your life, but sometimes you gotta do that,” he said in a since-deleted video on May 19, just two days after the video was made public.

“I hit rock bottom, but I make no excuses. My behavior on that video is inexcusable. I take full responsibility for my actions in that video. I’m disgusted. I was disgusted then when I did it; I’m disgusted now,” Mr. Combs continued, adding that he “sought out professional help,” including going to therapy and rehab.

“I’m so sorry,” he said. “But I’m committed to be a better man each and every day. I’m not asking for forgiveness. I’m truly sorry.”

On May 23, Ms. Ventura—who has since married, welcoming two daughters with her husband, Alex Fine—shared a statement on Instagram, reflecting on how the assault has impacted her life.

“Domestic Violence is THE issue. It broke me down to someone I never thought I would become. With a lot of hard work, I am better today, but I will always be recovering from my past,” she wrote.

“I offer my hand to those that are still living in fear. Reach out to your people, don’t cut them off. No one should carry this weight alone,” she added. “This healing journey is never ending, but this support means everything to me. Thank you.”

From The Epoch Times