The-Dream’s Former Pop Protégé Channii Monroe Sues for Sex Trafficking, Sexual Battery and Rape

The Grammy-winning producer, who has written for Beyoncé and Justin Bieber, denies all allegations

The-Dream (Getty Images)
The-Dream (Credit: Getty Images)

Music producer The-Dream (birth name Terius Gesteelde-Diamant) was sued by his former protégée Chanaaz (“Channii Monroe”) Mangroe on Tuesday for rape, sex trafficking and sexual battery.

Mangroe claimed in the lawsuit, filed in the United States District Court for the Central District of California and obtained by TheWrap, that Gesteelde-Diamant convinced her to enter a recording and distribution deal, which ultimately tied her into a “violent and manipulative relationship” with the musician in 2015 when she was 23. She referred to the situation as “nothing short of a prolonged nightmare.”

In the legal document, Mangroe said Gesteelde-Diamant “lured the young and vulnerable artist into an abusive, violent and manipulative relationship filled with physical assaults, violent sexual encounters and horrific psychological manipulation.” It added that Gesteelde-Diamant “used his age and influence in the industry to manipulate the young artist into believing that she needed him to be successful, and roped her into his world through false promises.”

Mangroe further accused Gesteelde-Diamant of taking advantage of her by misleading her to believe that he would write hit songs for her, made her “check in” with him throughout the day and managed all her music projects. She also stated Gesteelde-Diamant promised to get her booked as an opening act on a Beyoncé tour.

The singer also detailed a slew of “violent sexual acts” that took place during their personal and business relationship. In one instance, Mangroe said Gesteelde-Diamant locked her “in a dark room adjacent to a recording studio, violently having sex with her and then leaving her alone, naked in the dark, for hours on end, returning to again have sex with her and demand that she tell him she loved him.” In another incident, she stated Gesteelde-Diamant choked her to the point that she “began to pass out.”

In a statement to TheWrap, Douglas H. Wigdor and Meredith Firetog, partners of Wigdor LLP and attorneys for Mangroe, said, “This is yet another horrific example of how men in the music industry use their power and influence to manipulate and harm others. Dream, like Sean Combs did with Ms. Ventura and others, used his standing as a prominent recording artist and producer to subject Ms. Mangroe to vicious physical, psychological, and sexual abuse. While she will never fully recover from what he and those who supported him did to her, her willingness to speak out now is evidence of her extraordinary strength. We are honored to represent her.”

Mangroe said in a statement of her own that “choosing to speak out about the trauma I survived has been one of the most difficult decisions of my life, but ultimately, what Dream did to me made it impossible to live the life I envisioned for myself and pursue my goals as a singer and songwriter.”

“Ultimately, my silence has become too painful,” she added, “and I realized that I need to tell my story to heal. I hope that doing so will also help others and prevent future horrific abuse.”

Gesteelde-Diamant did not respond to TheWrap’s request for comment, but denied the allegations in a statement to the New York Times, saying: “These claims are untrue and defamatory … I oppose all forms of harassment and have always strived to help people realize their career goals. As someone committed to making a positive impact on my fellow artists and the world at large, I am deeply offended and saddened by these accusations.”

Gesteelde-Diamant, an eight-time Grammy-winning producer, has been in the music arena for over two decades, jumpstarting his career mostly as a songwriter. But in 2007, he released his “Love/Hate” album, which featured hit singles “Falsetto,” “I Luv Your Girl” and “Shawty Is Da S—t.” He also penned chart-topping records, like Beyoncé’s “Single Ladies,” “Obsessed” by Mariah Carey and Justin Bieber’s “Baby” featuring Ludacris.

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