Diddy has accused spirits company Diageo of “illegal retaliation” as their legal battle over Puff’s DeLeón tequila brand continues to pick up steam.
The Bad Boy mogul sued the spirits company back in May and claimed it neglected his DeLeón brand while throwing its full support behind George Clooney’s Casamigos.
As reported by The Wall Street Journal,Diddy accused Diageo of racial discrimination as a result and alleged in his filing that the company marketed his DeLeón brand as an “urban” and “Black” tequila brand.
Diageo retaliated at the end of June by cutting ties with Diddy entirely, calling the lawsuit a “sham.” The company further accused the Bad Boy Records founder of only contributing $1,000 cash to their partnership despite raking in over a billion in profits.
On Wednesday (July 20), Diddy (real name Sean Combs) condemned Diageo’s move via a new filing and wants the court to move forward with the suit.
“The message is clear — if you dare to shed light on Diageo’s conduct, you will be punished,” Diddy’s lawyer John Hueston said in documents filed in New York State Supreme Court, which were obtained by The New York Post. “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.”
A Diageo representative separately told The Post that: “This is a business dispute and should not be recast as anything other than that,” claiming the company 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,” the spokesperson continued. “Mr. Combs’ longstanding bad faith actions, false accusations and breaches of contract overwhelmingly support Diageo’s justified decision to sever ties.”
In a statement to HipHopDX last month, Diddy’s lawyer claimed Diageo’s attempt to end its partnership with their client was the equivalent to “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,” John Hueston 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.”
Diddy is asking for a court injunction to force Diageo to comply with their 2013 joint-venture agreement, as well as subsequent written agreements in order to resolve what Diddy claims were multiple complaints filed against the company.
As the legal battle drags on, it seems not everyone is sure if Diddy chose the best course of action. Charlamagne Tha God chimed in on the debacle during The Breakfast Club’s Rumor Report in June, saying he was a bit confused why Diddy chose “racism” as the basis for this lawsuit.
“I got questions man, somebody gotta help me understand,” Charlamagne said at the time. “Diddy worked for this company for 15 years, right? Made a billion dollars, literally, but then turns around and sues the company for racism. There had to be a better basis to the lawsuit then just racism right?”
In other news, the Bad Boy Records founder was recently accused of stealing his latest single “Act Bad” from an up-and-coming New York rapper.
Swinderella, a young rapper out of Queens, has alleged that Diddy “jacked” her song, and shared a clip of her 2020 track with The Neighborhood Talk to note the two singles’ similarities.
“The industry will really send people to bite your whole entire swagg!” an affiliate of Swinderella’s wrote in a since-deleted post on Instagram screenshotted by TNHT. “You never know who watching you, they not creative enough, they’re not organic enough!”