The business world is reeling as eighteen companies have dramatically severed ties with Empower Global, a venture spearheaded by hip-hop titan Sean “Diddy” Combs. This mass exodus comes in the wake of a series of explosive sexual assault allegations against the music mogul, sending shockwaves through the industry.
Rolling Stone Magazine broke the news on Sunday, revealing that these companies have chosen to distance themselves from Combs’ 2021 brainchild, Empower Global. The platform, envisioned as an immersive e-commerce and digital marketplace championing Black-owned businesses worldwide, now finds itself in the eye of a storm.
Annette Njau, the founder of luxury brand House of Takura, was among the first to pull the plug, citing the disturbing allegations brought forward by R&B singer Cassie, known for her lawsuit against Combs. “We take the allegations against Mr. Combs very seriously and find such behavior abhorrent and intolerable,” Njau stated, reflecting a growing sentiment among former business partners.
Fulaba, another brand once allied with Empower Global, echoed similar sentiments. “We will not associate with anything or anyone that is counter to our values,” founder Haby Barry declared, highlighting the company’s commitment to empowering women and girls.
However, the situation isn’t black and white. One company founder, who chose to remain anonymous, told Rolling Stone about their decision to stick with the embattled platform. They pointed out the significant investment of time and capital by many brands into Empower Global, and a belief in the vision of former CEO Khadijah Robinson, who departed in February.
The departure of these companies follows a series of lawsuits filed against Combs, each more shocking than the last. The latest, filed in a Manhattan federal court by an unnamed plaintiff, alleges that Combs, a former Bad Boy executive, and another unidentified man trafficked and “gang raped” her in 2003 at Combs’s recording studio in Manhattan. The plaintiff, who was 17 at the time of the alleged incident, also claims she was given drugs and alcohol before the attack.
This lawsuit is just the tip of the iceberg. Last month, Cassie Ventura filed a federal lawsuit against her former boss and romantic partner Combs, alleging rape, physical abuse, and forced participation in sex acts with other men. Two other lawsuits have also been filed against Combs, including one under New York’s Adult Survivors Act by Joi Dickerson-Neal, accusing him of drugging, sexual assault, and distributing revenge porn.
Combs, 54, a giant in the hip-hop industry and the founder of Bad Boy Records, recently stepped down as CEO of Revolt, a multimedia venture he co-founded. In a defiant statement, Combs vehemently denied the allegations, declaring, “Enough is enough. I did not do any of the awful things being alleged. I will fight for my name, my family, and for the truth.”
As the scandal continues to unfold, the world watches as one of hip-hop’s most influential figures battles to save his crumbling empire and tarnished legacy. The allegations have cast a long shadow over Combs’ career, with the future of his business ventures now hanging in the balance.