AceShowbiz - Sean "P. Diddy" Combs files a lawsuit against liquor company Diageo for racial discrimination. The "I'll Be Missing You" hitmaker's Combs Wines and Spirits LLC firm lodged a complaint earlier this week in which they accused the "multi-billion dollar, publicly-traded spirits company" of failing to adequately promote his Ciroc and DeLeon ranges because they classed them as "Black brands" that should only be marketed to "urban" consumers.
"It was Diageo that kneecapped DeLeon's sales growth for nearly a decade and now says that, because DeLeon has not yet reached the same sales levels as competing brands Casamigos and Don Julio, Diageo need not provide it with the same scale support," the 53-year-old rap mogul's legal team wrote in court documents obtained by People magazine.
According to the complaint, Diddy helped Ciroc's sales grow by over 3,000% when he signed with Diageo to become the face of the brand in 2007 and though they partnered again in 2013 to "buy, market and sell" DeLeon Tequila, "Diageo consistently fell short of its commitments" regarding promotion.
And when Diageo acquired Don Julio in 2015 and Casamigos in 2017, Diddy felt the company's "commitment to and focus on DeLeon inevitably suffered."
The complaint also alleged a company executive had directly cited the rapper's race as a factor in holding DeLeon back, telling him if "he were 'Martha Stewart,' his brands would be more widespread."
A spokesperson for Diddy declined to comment, but Diageo said they are "saddened" with the way events have been depicted. A Diageo spokesperson told People in a statement, "This is a business dispute, and we are saddened that Mr. Combs has chosen to recast this matter as anything other than that."
"Our steadfast commitment to diversity within our company and the communities we serve is something we take very seriously," the rep added. "We categorically deny the allegations that have been made and will vigorously defend ourselves in the appropriate forum."
The spokesperson additionally claimed, "For more than 15 years, we've had a productive and mutually beneficial relationship with Mr. Combs on various business ventures, making significant investments that have resulted in financial success for all involved."
"We are disappointed our efforts to resolve this business dispute amicably have been ignored and that Mr. Combs has chosen to damage a productive and valued partnership. 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," it concluded.