Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs embarrassed Miami Beach; city leaders were right to dis-honor him | Opinion

Recent allegations surrounding music mogul Sean “Diddy” Combs and an ongoing FBI probe into allegations of assault and human trafficking have rightfully led the city of Miami Beach to rescind honors previously bestowed on the controversial hip-hop entrepreneur.

As much of social media has done, Miami Beach officially canceled Combs.

In 2016, the Miami Beach Commission proclaimed Oct. 13 as “Sean “Diddy” Combs Day” and then-Mayor Philip Levine presented Combs with the proclamation in recognition of his contributions to music and entrepreneurship at the start of the third third REVOLT Music Conference.

That was then, this is now.

“Upon reflection, the Mayor and City Commission have determined that recognizing Oct. 13, 2016 as ‘Sean Diddy Combs Day’ is no longer in harmony with the city’s values of safety, community well-being, and respect, and wish to rescind the proclamation,” a statement said.

Commissioner David Suarez sponsored the resolution. It was a good call for the city. New York City has also taken back its key to Combs.

It’s well-known that federal agents raided Combs’ Star Island mansion just three months ago, with helicopters and drones transmitting footage of the operation for hours as armed agents removed items from the lavish waterfront property.

The sex trafficking alleged in lawsuits to have occurred within the mansion’s walls, nestled in the famous Miami Beach island community, must have caused city leaders significant unease.

Though Combs has yet to be charged, the nature of the allegations warrants serious examination, which current city officials undertook.

In 2016, the year Miami Beach honored Comb, security camera footage from a Los Angeles hotel made public last month showed Combs physically assaulting his then-girlfriend Cassie Ventura in the hotel’s hallway. Combs publicly acknowledged the attack in an apology video.

Ventura alleged in a federal lawsuit in November that Combs raped and physically abused her, including punching, beating, kicking and stomping her throughout their relationship. Other women have come forward with similar stories.

Combs can no longer peddle the affable rap millionaire persona. He has literally been shunned in the court of public opinion, and Miami Beach commissioner did the same. Good for them.

While the city could not have foreseen these events at the time, a basic review of Combs’ conduct would have raised questions. Combs’ reputation as the co-founder of Bad Boy Records and veteran of rapper violence — and at least one famed 1999 New York nightclub shooting involving his then-girlfriend Jennifer Lopez — has earned him a sketchy reputation. But he is rich and famous and said he loved coming to Miami Beach, so much he bought his Star Island mansion.

The predicament Miami Beach leaders found themselves in highlights why counties, cities, and municipalities should avoid bestowing accolades on living celebrities whose merit is simply being a celebrity.

Honoring the living — and, sometimes, even the dead — is an inexact science. It is difficult to assess someone’s full legacy while they are alive. And no matter how thoroughly cities research an honoree’s background, new information that changes perceptions and contexts can always surface years later. The new allegations against Combs are a prime example.

We get that Combs was a part-time wealthy and famous Miami Beach resident who brought cache to the city. Back in 2020, Combs caused a sensation when he started handing out $50 bills and gift cards during an event to benefit Overtown. The Sean Combs Foundation helped stage the event.

But moving forward, Miami Beach would be wise to more thoroughly vet potential honorees of proclamations or keys to the city and consider character in addition to accomplishments or fame.

Revoking the honor is an acknowledgment that the allegations, if true, undermine any contribution previously recognized by Combs in the city of Miami Beach.

For city leaders, protecting the city’s reputation must take precedence over ephemeral accolades or temporary prestige.

In cleaning up a predecessor’s mistake, Miami Beach leaders have made a prudent corrective move.

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