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Diddy stripped of honorary degree by Howard University

Howard University, a historically Black institution in Washington DC, has stripped Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs of his honorary degree.

The move comes following a string of allegations against the rap mogul in recent months, and means the 2014 degree that was conferred upon him has been rescinded.

The claims against Diddy came to a head last November, when R&B singer and ex-partner Cassie Ventura filed a lawsuit against the artist on allegations of physical and sexual abuse, all denied by Diddy. The two settled the lawsuit “to mutual satisfaction” a day after the case was filed.

In May, a video was obtained and published by CNN, showing Diddy allegedly attacking Cassie in a hotel. The footage seems to align with the allegations Ventura made in her lawsuit. He has since apologised for his “inexcusable” behaviour in the video.

Sean “Diddy” Combs in 2023. CREDIT: Shareif Ziyadat/Getty Images for Sean “Diddy” Combs

Howard University said on Friday (June 7) that Combs’ “behaviour 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”.

The university also confirmed that it would end a scholarship in his name and terminate a 2016 “gift agreement” with the artist.

Combs has not responded to a request for comment.

One week after the video was released, two further allegations were made against the rap heavyweight. The first claimed Combs drugged and sexually assaulted Joi Dickerson-Neal, while the other alleged that Combs and singer-songwriter Aaron Hall took turns raping an anonymous woman and her friend in 1990 or 1991 – adding that Diddy turned violent days later. Diddy went online to deny all allegations against him, but Hall hasn’t replied to those accusations specifically.

Both came after producer Rodney ‘Lil Rod’ Jones sued Combs and alleged that he sexually assaulted him, had parties where sex workers and underage girls were present, and coerced him to sleep with prostitutes. It also came as he was accused of drugging and assaulting Crystal McKinney, a former model. McKinney accused him of assaulting her at a Men’s Fashion Week event in 2003 by giving her a “powerful” joint and then assaulting her in a bathroom. Diddy labelled the former as “pure fiction”, and did not respond to requests for comment on the latter.

Later in May, Diddy was hit with another lawsuit by a college student accusing him of drugging and assaulting her four times between 1995 and the early 2000s. He has not responded to NME’s request for comment on that case.

A recent report by Rolling Stone collated the accounts of over 300 people connected to Combs, with dozens of associates, collaborators and colleagues adding insight into Combs’ personal life.

New York City mayor Eric Adams has been under pressure from various council members to take back the keys to the city from Combs, with some suggesting that Nas should receive them in his stead. Combs received the honour last September, before the current allegations surfaced.

For help, advice or more information regarding sexual harassment, assault and rape in the UK, visit the Rape Crisis charity website. In the US, visit RAINN.

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