Sean “Diddy” Combs Accuses Diageo of Racial Discrimination in a Lawsuit over DeLeon
Music mogul Sean “Diddy” Combs has filed a lawsuit against global beverage company Diageo, accusing them of mishandling his DeLeon tequila brand.
In the lawsuit filed on Wednesday (May 31), Diddy alleges Diageo of racial discrimination. He claims the company has given preferential treatment to brands associated with white celebrities, such as George Clooney, over his own.
Diddy’s legal representatives have argued that Diageo has treated their client and his brands inequitably due to his race, as reported by The Guardian. “Diageo appears to have typecast Ciroc and DeLeon as ‘Black brands’ aimed solely at ‘urban’ consumers,” said the attorneys.
Diddy further contends that Diageo did not provide adequate financial support to his liquor brands. He is pursuing a court order to ensure fair treatment from the company and is also planning a separate lawsuit seeking billions of dollars in damages.
His lawyers, as quoted by the Associated Press, criticized Diageo’s approach to diversity and equality as deceptive. They stated, “Diageo’s use of language and imagery of diversity and equality is beneficial for their business, but it’s a façade. Their inclusivity appears to be limited to their advertising materials and press releases.”
Diageo has rebutted Diddy’s claims, dismissing the lawsuit as a “business dispute.” The company expressed disappointment at Diddy’s decision to portray the issue as anything beyond that. “We hold Mr. Combs in high regard as an artist and entrepreneur, but his allegations are groundless. We are confident that the facts will demonstrate he has been treated equitably,” Diageo said in a statement.
Diddy has been associated with Diageo since 2007, serving as the face of Ciroc. In 2014, he joined forces with the company to acquire DeLeon.