Diddy is reacting to Diageo ending his partnership after he denounced the company for “racial discrimination”.
After Sean “Diddy” Combs sued the liquor brand Diageo for racially biasing George Clooney’s Casamigos tequila over his own DeLeón brand, he was fired from the company. Diddy and his legal team released one opinion He described the London-based company’s abrupt action as “cynical” and little more than a distraction.
“Diageo’s attempt to go out of business with Mr Combs is like firing a whistleblower who denounces racism. It is a cynical and transparent attempt to deflect multiple allegations of discrimination,” the statement said. “Over the years,[Combs]has consistently raised concerns about senior executives making racially insensitive comments and making biased decisions based on that view.”
“Diageo even acknowledged the issue by agreeing in its contract to treat DeLeón the same as its other tequila brands,” the statement said. “He brought this with him legal action to force them to comply with this contract, and instead they (reacted) by trying to get rid of him. This lawsuit and Mr. Combs are not going away.”
Combs Global President Tarik Brooks also said the company’s behavior was “absurd,” stating that Diageo must right the wrongs of Diddy’s discrimination and that the musician and businessman will not hesitate to continue to fight against injustice.
“It’s absurd that Diageo is suggesting that a black person should be quiet and accept racism and discrimination because they’ve made a lot of money,” Brooks said. “Sean Combs is a spirits pioneer who has achieved historic success with CIRÔC. He will always fight to be treated fairly.”
Following his success with CIRÔC, Diddy struck a deal with Diageo to work on his DeLeón brand of tequila. However, the company’s view of the brand changed, which directly impacted growth and sales. Combs says he believes the problem has its roots in racism.
“Diageo has typecast CIRÔC and DeLeón, apparently ruling that they are ‘black brands’ that should only be aimed at ‘urban’ consumers,” the court documents said.
Diageo insisted that the dispute was purely business in nature and categorically rejected the allegations. Still, Combs says that Diageo executive Stephen Rust confirmed to him in 2019 that race was one of the reasons the company restricted its product distribution and allegedly said if Combs was Martha Stewart they would make his brand widely available.
Diddy also blames Diageo’s redesign of his product’s label, which “made the product look cheap,” combined with the company’s lack of distribution of its tequila and the ingredients used to make it.