Diplo could face criminal charges for sexual misconduct
The Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office is considering criminal charges against celebrity DJ Diplo following a police investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct. The office told BuzzFeed News it was considering charges of invasion of privacy and intentional transmission of a sexually transmitted infection to someone.
The investigation into the 42-year-old artist, whose legal name is Thomas Wesley Pentz and who has worked with some of the world’s biggest music stars, including Beyoncé and Ariana Grande, stems from a complaint filed with the LAPD in October 2020., a 25-year-old woman accuses Pentz of recording sexually explicit videos of herself without her permission, distributing at least one without her consent, and knowingly infecting her with chlamydia. The allegations are also detailed in a request she filed for a temporary restraining order and in a civil lawsuit earlier this year.
“We are reviewing the reference and have no further comments at this time,” said Rob Wilcox, spokesperson for the City of LA district attorney.
The woman, whom BuzzFeed News does not call herself because the LAPD does not identify her, also told police Pentz raped her in her Las Vegas hotel room after one of her concerts. No criminal charges have been laid in connection with this alleged incident.
Pentz attorneys did not respond to detailed questions for this story, but sent BuzzFeed News a letter reiterating firm denials of any allegations they have already made in public statements and court documents. They said the letter could not be quoted.
Unpublished news of the police investigation and its submission to prosecutors reveals a new level of scrutiny of the allegations made by the woman almost a year ago. Pentz denied the charges and launched a vigorous counterattack. He obtained a temporary restraining order against her and sued her for criminal harassment, trespassing and distribution of private documents. It is not known whether he also filed reports with the police.
One of the explicit videos investigated by LA Police was posted in October 2020, by an anonymous account. The video was tweeted multiple times to several Twitter users who expressed support for the woman, according to the lawsuit.
Police also examined explicit videos of other women that the Pentz accuser says they shared with them, and questioned some of the subjects of those videos, according to emails from a source with direct knowledge of the survey seen by BuzzFeed News.
The LAPD and the investigating detective did not respond to requests for comment.
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In November 2020, Pentz’s attorney denied allegations that his client shared the videos, saying, “In no way has my client broken any law. In fact, he’s made it clear on several occasions that he doesn’t want anything to do with this person – and that he just needs her to end the ongoing harassment of his family. “
Under California law, recording a video without a person’s consent and knowingly transmitting a sexually transmitted infection are misdemeanors, a category of offense that falls under the jurisdiction of the city attorney.
Pentz tours the world frequently and has produced music with some of the biggest headliners in the industry, including Dua Lipa, Britney Spears and Justin Bieber. He created his own label, Mad Decent, in 2006; two years later, he became famous by producing the single “Paper Planes” with the artist MIA, his girlfriend at the time.
But throughout her successful career, Pentz has been dogged by allegations of inappropriate relationships with young women – particularly young black and brunette women. None of these claims have been proven. In 2017, Pentz tweeted, “Low key sent my resume for membership in the r kelly sex sect,” before deleting the tweet 20 minutes later.
In July, the Baltimore Orioles canceled a post-game concert after two lawsuits charged Pentz with sexual assault. One was then abandoned. He denied the allegations. “I would like to come”, he said tweeted to a disappointed fan, “but they rather listen to this garbage.”
In October 2020, rapper Azealia Banks opened up about Pentz’s alleged behavior with her on the podcast Cheapy’s Two Cents. “I used to sleep with Diplo when I was 17. Diplo definitely found me on this fucking Myspace,” she said. (Pentz would have been in his thirties at the time.) “I always give him credit for getting my career started, but yeah, I had to give him a teenage pussy to do it. He has always attacked young ethnic girls. Bank representatives did not respond to requests for comment.
According to legal documents reviewed by BuzzFeed News, the woman who surrendered to LA police said Pentz first contacted her via private messages on Twitter when she was 17. She said the couple continued to talk and that she had sex with him in March 2018, when she was 21.
She said the meeting was consensual, but told police that in July 2019, after a performance in Las Vegas, Pentz held her in her hotel suite and raped her. Las Vegas police refused to press charges against him for the alleged rape.
Medical records reviewed by BuzzFeed News show that within days of the alleged incident, the woman tested positive for chlamydia. In court records, she says Pentz was her first and only sexual partner at the time.
Pentz attorneys admitted the two had a relationship, but came up with a drastically different story of their sexual relationship. He said he first met the woman in March 2018, and his documents describe her as an obsessive fan who stalked him.
In April 2020, in a private communication with the woman reviewed by BuzzFeed News, Pentz hinted that she was using an anonymous social media account to harass him.
“I don’t know what these acts are,” she wrote to the musician in one of the many text messages denying the accusation. “Why would I be an obsessed ‘stalker’? You’ve invited me to your house so many times and I haven’t been there lol.
She continued to send a message to Pentz. Eventually, she shared her story in a series of tweets.
The video with sexually explicit footage of her was released three days later.
After the video was posted, lawyer Lisa Bloom offered the woman legal assistance. Bloom has frequently represented women in high-profile sexual assault cases, including against Donald Trump and Jeffrey Epstein. She came under criticism in 2017 when it emerged that she had helped craft Harvey Weinstein’s response to the first allegations of sexual assault against him.
Bloom declined to comment for this story.
In court records, the woman alleges that although she filmed some of the videos herself, Pentz was the only person she shared them with and that she believed he was responsible for the tweets. A state superior court judge granted the woman a temporary restraining order in November 2020, claiming that Pentz could “not distribute any images of the private part of the applicant’s body, or an image depicting the applicant himself. indulging in a sexual act, sodomy, oral copulation, penetration, or an image of masturbation ”, without his consent.
Three weeks later, on the day of the scheduled hearing for the woman’s restraining order, Pentz filed a temporary restraining order against her, alleging that six months earlier, in June, the woman posted an image on social media which showed Pentz ‘naked body from behind, including her bare butt. He also accused the woman of sending sex videos of Pentz and an unidentified woman to the mother of Pentz’s children. “The petitioner believes that the public will have access to these sensitive photographs and videos, which will further aggravate the damage, emotional distress and embarrassment that the petitioner has already suffered,” his lawyers wrote.
A judge also granted Pentz’s temporary restraining order. In a statement forming part of her petition, Pentz said: “I have made it very clear to the Respondent on several occasions that I don’t want anything more to do with her, but she continues to disregard my requests. . “
But in January, none of the lawyers appeared at a hearing to discuss the restraining orders, court records show. A judge dismissed them both.
By the end of April, attempts to resolve the matter in private had failed. Pentz attorneys have filed a lawsuit for damages, alleging the woman harassed him, trespassed on his way to his home without warning and posted an explicit image of him on his personal Instagram account. The lawsuit portrayed her as a desperate fan who was angry that Pentz had ended their relationship.
That day, the woman attended a scheduled interview with police in Los Angeles, where she and Pentz live, to discuss her allegations. She also later spoke to police about the assault in Las Vegas. The Las Vegas Police Department declined to comment on the status of this investigation.
In June, she filed her own lawsuit, seeking damages for allegations of sexual violence, assault, libel and the intentional infliction of emotional distress.
His lawsuit accuses Pentz of being “a middle-aged white man who targets very young black women and girls for sexual assault.”
Pentz attorneys responded by denying “every allegation in the complaint.”
The woman whose charges are now the focus of the Los Angeles City Attorney’s review is no longer represented by Lisa Bloom. His new lawyers did not respond to requests for comment.
Pentz continued to tour extensively and frequently. He recently performed at Burning Man and the Elements Music & Arts Festival, and is expected to perform at the Electric Daisy Carnival later this month. A documentary on Major Lazer, a DJ trio of which Pentz is one, is set to release on Amazon Music on October 6. ●