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Diddy Files Lawsuit Against Diageo Alleging Racial Discrimination and Neglect of Liquor Brands

Renowned music producer and rapper Sean “Diddy” Combs has taken legal action against spirits company Diageo, accusing the corporation of breaching their business agreement and deliberately withholding investment in his liquor brands due to racial bias.

In a complaint filed with the New York Supreme Court, Combs asserted that the company demonstrated a reluctance to treat its Black partners equally despite Diageo’s public claims of being a diversity leader.

Combs said Diageo dealt a severe blow to his Ciroc Vodka and DeLeon Tequila brands by intentionally depriving them of essential resources after categorizing them as “Black brands” solely intended for “urban” consumers.

The lawsuit claims that Diageo and its executives purposely hindered the growth of Mr. Combs’ brands, stating, “In a business where production, distribution, and sales are the pillars of success, Ciroc and DeLeon have been starved of resources for all three.”

Responding to the allegations, Diageo released a statement denying the accusations and describing its 15-year partnership with Combs as “productive and mutually beneficial.”

However, a spokesperson for the company declared, “This is a business dispute, and we are saddened that Mr. Combs has chosen to recast this matter as anything other than that.”

The statement further affirmed Diageo’s unwavering commitment to diversity within the company and the communities it serves, categorically refuting the claims made by Combs and vowing to defend itself in the appropriate legal proceedings vigorously.

In addition to neglecting his brands, the lawsuit also asserts that the U.K.-based beverage conglomerate dedicated more attention and provided better support to competing celebrity-backed liquor brands, such as Casamigos, co-founded by George Clooney, and Aviation Gin, backed by Ryan Reynolds.

The suit contends that Diageo failed to fulfill its investment promises in Combs Wines and Spirits.

“Diageo has treated Mr. Combs and his brands worse than others because he is Black,” the lawsuit stated.

It further revealed that in 2019, one of Diageo’s managers openly acknowledged the racist undertones within the company, informing Combs that race played a role in restricting the distribution of the Combs brands and suggesting that things would be different if he were “Martha Stewart.”

Combs, a Grammy-winning rapper known by various stage names, including Puff Daddy, P Diddy, and Diddy, expressed his intention to pursue billions of dollars in damages through additional legal proceedings against Diageo.

In its response, Diageo officials said they’re disappointed that Combs disregarded multiple efforts to resolve the business dispute.

While the company acknowledged Combs’ artistic and entrepreneurial achievements, it maintained that his allegations lacked merit and expressed confidence that the facts would demonstrate fair treatment on their part.


The Reporter Newspaper
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