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Why Hollywood Keeps Getting Away with Crime: The Case of Sean “Diddy” Combs

How do celebrities get away with crime? A question many have asked, but to which only a few have answered. 

Whether it has to do with wealth, power, fame, or dirty backroom deals with the higher-ups, the reality is that the Western entertainment industry and its influential stars rarely face the same consequences that average working-class citizens do for violating the law. 

It’s no conspiracy that money talks, and that the millionaires and billionaires in Hollywood face no problem that cash can’t solve. 

But a key question remains: at a time when average Americans face the harshest extent of the law for drug dealing, sexual assault, or even murder, how do Hollywood idols get away with the same crimes, only to become even richer and more famous?

Take the case of Sean “Diddy” Combs. The billionaire American rapper and record producer has gone viral on the news and social media after his homes in Los Angeles and Miami were raided by US Homeland Security officials on Monday, March 25th, “in connection with a federal sex trafficking investigation.”.

This comes after a string of varying accusations against Combs in the past six months, the most recent one being a sexual assault scandal brought forth by Rodney “Lil Rod” Jones, a producer on Combs’ most recent album. Jones has accused Combs of sexually harassing, drugging, and threatening him for several years. He is seeking $30 million in compensation.

Among the allegations is that Combs forced Jones to solicit sex workers and pressured him to engage in unwanted sexual acts with them. Another claim said Combs gave laced alcoholic beverages to those who attended his parties, which included underage girls and sex workers. Jones also says in the lawsuit that he has recorded hundreds of hours of video and audio of Combs and his staff “engaging in serious illegal activity.” 

Combs’ lawyer vehemently denied all allegations against him, calling them “pure fiction.” This is while Jones has presented extensive video, audio, and screenshot evidence to back his claims, which characterize Combs as a popular figure who leveraged his power in hip-hop and business to intimidate Jones and force him to comply with his demands.

This is also not the first time the billionaire music mogul has exhibited similar behavior. Combs has been sued by four women who have accused him of sexual assault. The first of them was his ex-girlfriend, Casandra Ventura, who filed a lawsuit against him in November 2023 for physically abusing her, urging her to take drugs, and forcing her to have sex with male prostitutes while he recorded the encounters. The lawsuit was settled the day after it was filed and was called “one of the fastest settlements in American history.” 

Another infamous case was a Manhattan nightclub shooting in 1999, which involved Rapper Jamal “Shyne” Barrow and Combs. Shyne was sentenced to 10 years in prison for shooting and wounding two people during a fight between Combs and another man at the nightclub. 

Shyne was found guilty on two counts of assault, reckless endangerment, and gun possession. Combs, however, had top of the line lawyers and was acquitted of all gun charges. 

The most telling aspect of the lawsuit, however, were Shyne’s comments about what happened. He said Combs’ lawyers pressured him into throwing the blame on Shyne, “cause Puff is a half a billion-dollar corporation. So, nobody is gonna sacrifice the corporation for anyone else.” Decades later, a very similar explanation appears in Combs’ most recent lawsuit, in a section where Jones says, “Mr. Combs consistently made it clear that he has immense power in the music industry and with law enforcement.” 

This revelation, however, is far from being a lone-theory conspiracy. It is a dark reality that journalists, investigators, and even entertainment reporters have long called attention to. Just recently, American commentator Candace Owens drew attention to the police raid on Combs’ homes, saying “they already knew what he was up to but he is going to be the fall guy so that they can protect the people at the top of the ring. They are raiding his home to hide evidence not to find it. That’s how this works.” 

Owens has been one of a few political commentators that has spoken out about Combs and called attention to the media’s “sinister” silence on his crimes. She went as far as saying both politicians and celebrities are being blackmailed on this issue, and said the Combs lawsuits are arguably bigger than the Jeffrey Epstein case

While the series of lawsuits against Combs in the past few decades signal a dangerous level of immunity given to top-shot celebrities in Hollywood, most people view these cases only for entertainment value. What is less discussed are the underlying factors that have granted a free pass to those in positions of power and influence to evade the law, and with full protection of law enforcement entities. Sean “Diddy” Combs is just one example of how popular support for celebrities with wealth and fame blinds people from not only the truth, but also the institutional power games that continue to put money first. 

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  • Sarah Katib

    Sarah Katib is a multi-platform journalist who specializes in writing and research on international affairs, contemporary social issues, and Muslim identity in the West.

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