Photo: Freelance photographer Richard Burdett (Website) 

Alcohol Company Ends P. Diddy Partnership

It’s official! The Diageo beverage company is formally ending its business relationship with Sean “Diddy” Combs. 

The move comes after entrepreneur and music professional previously accused the company of treating his Ciroc vodka and DeLeon tequila brands as “urban” products and, therefore, failing to invest resources.

In response to the accusation, on Tuesday (6.27) in Manhattan federal court, Diageo stated that Combs made “false and reckless allegations, including numerous defamatory and disparaging accusations of racism on the part of Diageo and certain of its senior executives.” According to Bloomberg, the beverage company subsequently filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit or move Combs’ case to arbitration, stating:

“Mr. Combs’ bad-faith actions have clearly breached his contracts and left us no choice but to move to dismiss his baseless complaint and end our business relationship. Mr. Combs has repeatedly undermined our partnerships and threatened to publicly defame Diageo if we did not meet his unreasonable financial demands.” “We have exhausted every reasonable remedy and see no other path forward.” The company claims to have invested more than $100,000,000.00 in an attempt to grow DeLeón, alleging that Combs “contributed a total of $1,000 and refused to honor his commitments.”

According to suit filed by Combs’ attorneys in May, they claim that Diageo and its executives have “put their feet on the neck of Mr. Combs’ brands. In a business where production, distribution, and sales are the pillars of success, Ciroc and DeLeon have been starved of resources for all three.” 

Combs also alleged that Diageo’s President of Reserve and New Business, Stephen Rust, “directly acknowledged the company’s racist undertones in 2019,” and told the entrepreneur that some of the company’s leadership “resented him for making too much money.” The suit also claims that Rust admitted that Combs’ race was “part of the reason Diageo limited the neighborhoods where the Combs brands were distributed.”

In response to Diageo’s Tuesday filing, per the Financial Times, Combs’ attorney claimed the company “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.”

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Author: Saul Goode

Photo: Richard Burdett