Diddy and liquor giant Diageo sever ties over lawsuit; future of Ciroc now in jeopardy

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Diddy and liquor giant Diageo sever ties over lawsuit; future of Ciroc now in jeopardy

Diddy‘s highly-successful joint venture with the UK liquor brand Diageo has unfortunately come to an end.

According to The Associated Press, the spirits giant decided to cut ties with the Harlem-bred mogul after he filed a lawsuit against the company back in May. In the suit, Diddy (real name Sean Combs) claimed that Diageo was “racist” in its handling of his liquor brands: Cîroc vodka and DeLeón tequila.

The suit also alleges Diageo’s North America division “starved Combs’ Cîroc vodka and DeLeón tequila brands of resources” while carefully tending to other celebrity brands.

Diageo owns more than 200 different liquor brands, including Don Julio tequila and Casamigos tequila.

“Cloaking itself in the language of diversity and equality is good for Diageo’s business, but it is a lie,” reads the complaint filed on behalf of Combs Wines and Spirits LLC.

Diageo has since denied the “Act Bad” musician’s claims and filed a motion on Tuesday (June 27) to dismiss Combs’ complaint, and referred to the allegations as “false and reckless.”

Combs’ relationship with Diageo dates to 2007, when the London-based company approached Combs about Cîroc. The liquor company also claimed that Combs has acquired “nearly $1 billion” throughout their 15-year relationship.

Diageo also accused the Bad Boy founder of not acting like an “equal partner” and refusing to provide adequate funding to help DeLeón grow. The company also stated that outside of a $1,000 contribution from Combs, Diageo “provided 100% of the funding” for the joint venture — nearly investing more than $100 million.

“Mr. Combs’ 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,” Diageo said in a statement on Tuesday. “We have exhausted every reasonable remedy and see no other path forward.”

Attorneys representing Combs Wines and Spirits told The Associated Press that Diageo’s attempts to end the partnership were “like firing a whistleblower who calls out racism.”

“It’s a cynical and transparent attempt to distract from multiple allegations of discrimination,” Combs’ attorneys said, adding that Combs “repeatedly raised concerns as senior executives uttered racially insensitive comments and made biased decisions” over the years. “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.”