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The-Dream, R&B star and Beyoncé songwriter, accused of rape

Terius “The-Dream” Gesteelde-Diamant, a producer and songwriter for Beyoncé and Rihanna seen here at the 65th Grammy Awards, was sued in federal court Tuesday by a former protégée.
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Terius “The-Dream” Gesteelde-Diamant, a producer and songwriter for Beyoncé and Rihanna seen here at the 65th Grammy Awards, was sued in federal court Tuesday by a former protégée.

Songwriter and producer Terius “The-Dream” Gesteelde-Diamant – a longtime hitmaker and collaborator of artists including Beyoncé and Rihanna – was accused Tuesday of rape, physical assault, and psychological manipulation by a former protégée.

The woman, Chanaaz Mangroe, filed the suit in a Los Angeles district court against Gesteelde-Diamant, as well as the record label Epic Records and a company co-owned by Gesteelde-Diamant called Contra Paris, LLC.

In the suit, Mangroe alleges that Gesteelde-Diamant made extravagant promises to help jumpstart her music career, telling her “he would make her the next Beyoncé and Rihanna.” Instead, she alleges, he raped her, strangled her and psychologically manipulated her, including allegedly making a video of a sexual encounter and threatening to show it to other people.

Representatives of Gesteelde-Diamant and Epic Records did not immediately return NPR’s requests for comment, but a statement was provided to the New York Times denying the allegations.

Mangroe, who was born and began her career in The Netherlands and has used the professional name Channii Monroe, alleges that an associate of Gesteelde-Diamant first reached out to her in late 2014 after learning of her on Instagram, and made arrangements for her to meet Gesteelde-Diamant in Atlanta in January 2015. At the time, Gesteelde-Diamant and his creative partner, Christopher “Tricky” Stewart, had already become well-known producers and songwriters whose collaborators included Beyoncé, Rihanna, Britney Spears, Mariah Carey and Justin Bieber. (In all, Gesteelde-Diamant has won eight Grammy Awards and earned 21 nominations.)

Mangroe alleges that Gesteelde-Diamant almost immediately began pressuring her for sex after meeting her, saying that sex with him was “part of the process.” Within days of their first meeting, she alleges in the suit, he locked her in a dark room at a house with a recording studio where he “would only stop aggressively having sex with her once she said that she loved him.”

Over the course of several following months, the suit alleges, Gesteelde-Diamant led her into an “abusive, violent, and manipulative relationship filled with physical assaults, violent sexual encounters, and horrific psychological manipulation.” According to Mangroe, Gesteelde-Diamant frequently forced her into violent sex, refused to wear a condom, demanded that she engage in sexual acts in public against her will, forced her to drink alcohol excessively by “roughly pulling her head back by her hair and pouring alcohol down her throat,” and on multiple occasions strangled her during intimate encounters “so intensely that she almost lost consciousness.” She also alleges that on one occasion, he raped her in the back of a van.

Mangroe’s suit cites California’s Sexual Abuse and Cover-Up Accountability Act, which allows people to file suits on sexual assault accusations even if the statute of limitations has expired on the alleged incidents.

In a written statement sent to NPR on Tuesday by one of her attorneys, Douglas Wigdor, Mangroe said: “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, 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.”

Copyright 2024 NPR

Anastasia Tsioulcas is a reporter on NPR's Arts desk. She is intensely interested in the arts at the intersection of culture, politics, economics and identity, and primarily reports on music. Recently, she has extensively covered gender issues and #MeToo in the music industry, including backstage tumult and alleged secret deals in the wake of sexual misconduct allegations against megastar singer Plácido Domingo; gender inequity issues at the Grammy Awards and the myriad accusations of sexual misconduct against singer R. Kelly.