Last month Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs filed a lawsuit against his former business partner, Diageo Beverages, accusing them of using discriminatory practices when marketing his liquor brands.
Diddy’s attorney John C. Hueston released a statement that read:
“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.”
He added, “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.”
The partnership between Combs and the Diageo dates all the way back to 2007. The music icon’s Combs Spirits reportedly accrued nearly $1 billion over its 15-year affiliation.
Now Diddy is accusing Diageo of illegal retaliation for cutting ties with him after he filed his lawsuit…
NY Post reports:
Sean “Diddy” Combs accused his business partner Diageo of “illegal retaliation” on Wednesday, heightening the legal battle between the mogul musician and the spirits conglomerate.
Diageo, which had distributed the rapper’s Ciroc vodka and DeLeon tequila brands, moved to cut ties with Combs last month after he filed a suit accusing the company of racism in the promotion and distribution of his liquor labels.
“The message is clear — if you dare to shed light on Diageo’s conduct, you will be punished,” Combs’ lawyers said in documents filed in New York State Supreme Court on Wednesday and obtained by The Post.
Diageo, the world’s largest spirits company, has asked the court to toss the lawsuit.
However, the filing called Diageo’s motion to dismiss the case “smoke and mirrors,” and asked the court to ignore the request.
“While Diageo has self-servingly misrepresented the goals of Combs’s lawsuit in the press, its attempt to retaliate against Combs for asserting his legal rights will not work in court,” Combs’ lawyer John Hueston said.
A Diageo spokesperson told The Post: “This is a business dispute and should not be recast as anything other than that.”
The company insisted it had the contractual right “to terminate the marketing services agreement in place for Ciroc and begin the wind down of the DeLeón joint venture.”
“Our actions are consistent with our desire to protect the significant investment we have made in both brands and their future growth. Mr. Combs’ longstanding bad faith actions, false accusations and breaches of contract overwhelmingly support Diageo’s justified decision to sever ties,” the spokesperson said.