Diddy sues spirits company for $1 billion, cites racism
On Wednesday, music artist and entrepreneur Sean “Diddy” Combs filed a lawsuit against Diageo, alleging the spirits company treated his vodka and tequila brands as inferior “urban” products.
The lawsuit was filed with the New York Supreme Court, and claims the company denied Combs’ brands certain resources, while giving more attention and funding to others.
In addition to Combs’ Ciroc vodka and DeLeon tequila brands, Diageo purchased George Clooney’s Casamigos tequila in 2017 for $1 billion.
Combs said that Diageo leadership informed him that, as a Black man, his race was a deciding factor in limiting distribution to urban neighborhoods. He added that some Diageo executives even resented him for his wealth.
Court files show Diddy now seeks billions of dollars in damages from legal proceedings against the company.
“Cloaking itself in the language of diversity and equality is good for Diageo’s business, but it is a lie,” reads the lawsuit. “While Diageo may conspicuously include images of its Black partners in advertising materials and press releases, its words only provide the illusion of inclusion.”
Combs has been involved with the London-based company since 2007, when leadership reportedly approached the celebrity about his Ciroc vodka line.
Diageo, which owns over 200 alcohol brands including Tanqueray gin and Guinness beer, denied any allegations of racism in a statement given Wednesday.
“This is a business dispute, and we are saddened that Mr. Combs has chosen to recast this matter as anything other than that,” the company said. “While we respect Mr. Combs as an artist and entrepreneur, his allegations lack merit, and we are confident the facts will show that he has been treated fairly.”
With News Wire Services