After Diageo announced they had severed ties with Diddy, the Hip-Hop icon’s team is firing back. In a statement directly to The Source, the president of Combs Global, Tarik Brooks, responded to the liquor company.


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“It’s absurd for Diageo to suggest that a Black person should be quiet and accept racism or discrimination because they earned a lot of money,” said Brooks. “Sean Combs is a spirit’s pioneer who has accomplished historic success with Ciroc. He will always fight to be treated fairly.”

Diddy’s attorney, John C. Husteon, offered a statement:

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“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. 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.”

On Wednesday, liquor titan Diageo PLC has severed ties with Sean “Diddy” Combs after the Bad Boy mogul filed a lawsuit stating the company ignored his DeLeon tequila brand. Diageo also houses Diddy’s Ciroc.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Diageo has directed its attention to two other tequila brands, one of which is the George Clooney-led Casamigos. Included in the suit, Diddy notes Diageo exhibits racial discrimination by placing DeLeón in the “urban” category and also referring to the tequila as a “Black brand.”

According to court filings, Diddy and his company are seeking Diageo to comply with the terms of their 2013 joint agreement and additional statements to develop written agreements on further business.

The court docs also highlight a history of Diddy having complaints to Diageo, including out-of-stock products, limited distribution, and botched redesign. Additionally, in 2010 and 2021, Diageo allegedly did not provide agave to DeLeón during an ingredient shortage.

Diageo called for the suit to be dismissed in a Tuesday filing and cut the deal with Combs. A Diageo spokesperson has also released a statement to The Source:

We are saddened that Mr. Combs has chosen to recast a business dispute as anything other than that and chosen to damage a productive and valued partnership. 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.

Diageo believes strongly in the CIRÔC and DeLeón brands and remains committed to their success, which is why we tried for years to salvage the broken relationship with Mr. Combs. We funded the purchase of DeLeón for the joint venture and proceeded to invest more than $100 million to grow the brand. Despite having made nearly a billion dollars over the course of our 15-year relationship, Mr. Combs contributed a total of $1,000 and refused to honor his commitments.

We have exhausted every reasonable remedy and see no other path forward.

In the filing, Diageo states, “In an effort to extract additional billions from Diageo, Combs has resorted to false and reckless allegations, including numerous defamatory and disparaging accusations…”

The filing also reads, “Notably, the Combs Parties have not sued Diageo for discrimination, nor could they…”

Speaking on the partnership, the filing reads, “Unfortunately, Combs has proven himself once and for all to be an unreliable and untrustworthy business partner. Despite DeLeón’s recent growth and progress, and in disregard of multiple provisions of the DeLeón Agreement, earlier this year Combs again began to threaten Diageo…”

Diageo also positions for the case to be dismissed, calling it “self-serving” and attempting to press the company into early settlement while leaning the public in Diddy’s support by laying claims that don’t have “legal or factual basis.”

About The Author

Senior Editor

Shawn Grant is a Chicago native and the Senior Editor of The Source Magazine. He can only be found on Instagram and Twitter at @shawnxgrant.

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