Diageo ends relationship with Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs

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

Last month Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs launched legal action against Diageo

Diageo has terminated its business relationship with Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs, after the US rapper launched legal action against the firm and accused it of racism.

The drinks giant, which owns brands such as Guinness and Tanqueray, has since filed its own legal proceeding in which it claimed it “tried for years to salvage the broken relationship” with the musician, producer and entrepreneur.

Diageo has accused Combs of “bad faith actions” that breached the terms of his contract with the firm: “Mr Combs’s 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,” the company said.

“We funded the purchase of DeLeon for the joint venture and proceeded to invest more than $100m to grow the brand,” it said.

“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 honour his commitments.

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

Last month, Combs sued Diageo over racism allegations and undermining the partnership with Combs Wines and Spirits.

It was reported that Combs’ lawyers, the rapper, and his representatives were seeking “billions of dollars in damages due to Diageo’s neglect and breaches”.

“In public, Diageo – a multi-billion dollar, publicly-traded spirits company – proclaims itself a leader in diversity and inclusion,” the filing began. “Unwilling to treat its Black partners equally – even when explicitly required by contract to do so”.

The filing continued: “Rather than equal treatment, Diageo has treated Mr Combs and his brands worse than others because he is Black. Diageo has typecast Ciroc and DeLeon, apparently deciding they are ‘Black brands’ that should be targeted only to ‘urban’ consumers.

“He [Diageo’s president of reserve and new business Stephen Rust] also admitted that Mr Combs’ race was part of the reason Diageo limited the neighbourhoods where the Combs brands were distributed. If Mr Combs were ‘Martha Stewart’, Mr Rust said, things would be different.”

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