Sean Combs Sells Stake in Revolt, the Media Company He Founded

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Sean Combs, the hip-hop mogul who has been facing mounting legal scrutiny over allegations of sexual and physical abuse, has sold his majority stake in Revolt, the media company that he founded, the organization announced Tuesday.

The largest shareholder group at Revolt, a private company, is now made up of employees, its chief executive, Detavio Samuels, said in an interview ahead of the announcement.

Now known best for popular video podcasts such as “Drink Champs,” “The Jason Lee Show” and “Caresha Please,” Revolt was started by Mr. Combs more than a decade ago as a music industry-focused cable channel meant to boost Black representation on television.

In January, after a wave of lawsuits were filed against Mr. Combs, he agreed to start the process of separation from Revolt, Mr. Samuels said.

Mr. Combs’s business empire has shrunk significantly since November, when Casandra Ventura — his former girlfriend, who performs music as Cassie — filed a lawsuit accusing him of years of physical and sexual abuse. The suit was settled in a day, but five more followed from women who accused Mr. Combs of sexual assault.

Mr. Combs, 54, who is also known as Puff and Diddy, said last year that the lawsuits contained “sickening allegations” from “individuals looking for a quick payday.”

In the months following Ms. Ventura’s filing, Mr. Combs stepped down as chairman of the Revolt board; sold his half of a liquor brand for about $200 million after lawyers for its parent company complained that his reputation had been tarnished; and saw a New York charter school network he helped expand end its partnership with him.

“One-hundred percent of Sean Combs’s shares have been redeemed and retired,” Mr. Samuels said in the interview. “He is no longer chairman. He is no longer on the board. He has no shares, no equity in Revolt. We have completely separated and dissociated from each other.”

Mr. Samuels declined to say how much Mr. Combs was paid for his stake in Revolt. With Mr. Combs out, there is no majority owner in the company. A representative for Mr. Combs did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Tuesday.

A hip-hop impresario who made his name in the 1990s as a founder of the Bad Boy record label, Mr. Combs made a leap into cable TV ownership in 2012, driven by his vision of a Black-owned and run media company covering Black culture. When the channel started up the next year, it was marketed as a sort of MTV for a younger, more social media-focused generation.

The business has shifted significantly in recent years from cable toward digital media, and Mr. Samuels said Revolt’s business is now largely driven by digital advertising. Revolt’s most popular programs also stream on YouTube, where the company has 2.8 million subscribers; it started a podcast network in 2022.

Though Revolt had long embraced Mr. Combs as the face of its brand, the company has distanced itself from him in recent months, as the lawsuits have piled up and Homeland Security raids on two of his homes indicated a deepening federal investigation into his conduct.

In the interview, Mr. Samuels, who joined Revolt in 2020, said that even before the lawsuits, Mr. Combs had “little to no interaction with the team” at the company, which has more than 110 full-time employees.

Despite the purported distance between Mr. Combs and Revolt, the staff has still been shaken by the cascade of news surrounding the company’s founder, including the hotel-security footage that CNN revealed last month of Mr. Combs striking, kicking and dragging Ms. Ventura in 2016. The video corroborated part of Ms. Ventura’s lawsuit and prompted an apology from Mr. Combs, who said his behavior was “inexcusable.” Mr. Combs’s legal team has been fighting the lawsuits against him in court, blaming one of them for having “irreparably damaged” Mr. Combs’s reputation based on “rank, uncorroborated allegations.”

In response to the release of the hotel footage, Revolt provided access to individual and group therapists for employees, Mr. Samuels said.

While some have speculated that wealthy investors would swoop in to take over Revolt, under the new structure, current and future full-time employees will receive equity in the company. With a staff that is about 80 percent people of color, Mr. Samuels said, the company is aiming to address a history in the United States of “allowing Black and brown people to build multi-trillion-dollar industries without allowing them the benefit.”

“What we realized is, we were all we needed,” he said.

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