Today (June 27), Diageo decided to cut ties with Sean “Diddy” Combs during their ongoing legal battle — But, the mogul isn’t backing down.
The termination of their long-standing partnership comes amid Combs’ claims of racial discrimination against the company, where he alleges his Cîroc and DeLeón Tequila brands were marginalized.
Lodged with the New York Supreme Court in Manhattan last month, the lawsuit claims Diageo demonstrated racial bias and severely curbed the growth potential of Combs’ brands. The rapper asserts the company’s leaders informed him that his race factored into the decision.
Furthermore, Combs accused Diageo of failing to provide adequate resources to his brands while prioritizing other white-owned labels. A resounding line from the complaint dated May 31 alleges, “Cloaking itself in the language of diversity and equality is good for Diageo’s business, but it is a lie.”
However, the abrupt conclusion of their joint venture has seemingly only heightened Diddy’s determination to pursue justice. Despite Diageo’s withdrawal, Combs remains steadfast in his resolve.
A statement from Diddy’s attorney John C. Hueston released today reads: “Diageo attempting to end its deals with Mr. Combs is like firing a whistleblower who calls out racism. It’s a cynical and transparent attempt to distract from multiple allegations of discrimination. Over the years, he has repeatedly raised concerns as senior executives uttered racially insensitive comments and made biased decisions based on that point of view.”
He added, “Diageo even acknowledged the problem by agreeing in his contract to treat DeLeon the same way it treated their other tequila brands. He brought the lawsuit to force them to live up to that contract, and instead, they respond by trying to get rid of him. This lawsuit and Mr. Combs are not going away.”
The partnership between Combs and the Diageo dates all the way back to 2007. Plus, the music icon’s Combs Spirits reportedly accrued nearly $1 billion over its 15-year affiliation.