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Sean "Diddy" Combs Files Lawsuit Against Diageo, Alleges Racism and Sabotage

  /  05.31.2023

Earlier Wednesday (May 31), Sean “Diddy” Combs and his liquor company, Combs Wines and Spirits LLC, filed a lawsuit against Diageo, the British corporation that serves as co-owner of his DeLeón Tequila brand.

In documents filed in Manhattan at the state Supreme Court in New York, as reported by the Wall Street Journal, the billionaire mogul is accusing the partner organization of treating him and his product worse than comparative brands that are also under the Diageo umbrella because of his race. Combs’ legal team is asking for Diageo to provide “the equal treatment” that was “contractually promised.”

According to the legal documents, both DeLeón Tequila and CÎROC, a premium vodka that’s also under an “equal-share venture” between Combs and Diageo, have been typecast as only “urban” and “Black,” despite agreements that required equality. “Cloaking itself in the language of diversity and equality is good for Diageo’s business, but it is a lie,” the lawsuit stated. “While Diageo may conspicuously include images of its Black partners in advertising materials and press releases, its words only provide the illusion of inclusion.”

The suit also claims that Diageo first reached out to the music and entertainment mogul back in 2007 to create an all-new brand. They eventually turned their focus to CÎROC, which wasn’t very popular at the time. Since then, Combs has marketed the brand into a billon-dollar success.

As a result, the partnership expanded to include DeLeón Tequila, which was also met with lucrative profits. Unfortunately, Diageo’s distribution has been significantly lower than what is being provided to its other tequila brands such as Casamigos and Don Julio. Different retailers have also said that Diageo hasn’t even reached out to expand DeLeón Tequila into additional markets.

This isn’t the first time Diageo has been accused of racial discrimination by its Black business partners. Back in 2013, famed producer and recording artist Pharrell Williams sued the company for breach of contract. Plus, in 2013, the first blender at a major distillery named Eboni Major, accused the conglomerate of racial hostility.

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