According to the NY Post, Diddy has now accused Diageo of “illegal and outrageous retaliation” after he took legal action against the company with allegations of racism.
One of the claims was the introduction of the Summer Watermelon flavor, which could be offensive to Black people given its racist history and stereotypes.
Diageo and Diddy each own 50% of DeLeon but have been in business together since 2007, when they partnered to grow Cîroc. However, Diddy accuses Diageio of not marketing the two liquors like the other spirits it controls, namely George Clooney’s Casamigos, which they reportedly “invested more than $1 billion to acquire and grow.”
The court filings from Diddy note that Casamigos was marketed to every demographic, which led to booming sales, but the tune changed when it came to DeLeon and Cîroc.
Diddy’s lawyers say that his liquors were underinvested and considered an urban product while marketing had a “misguided belief that a black entrepreneur could only appeal to others who shared his skin color.”
When Diddy’s side unearthed the unequal treatment and sued Diageo, the latter responded by ending the relationship and asking the judge to dismiss the case.
“The message is clear – if you dare to shed light on Diageo’s conduct, you will be punished,” the lawyers said.
Diageo says the disagreement isn’t racial but a business misunderstanding because they have significantly invested in DeLeon and Cîroc.
“Our actions are consistent with our desire to protect the significant investment we have made in both brands and their future growth. Mr. Comb’s longstanding bad faith actions, false accusations and breaches of contract overwhelmingly support Diageo’s decision to cut ties with him,” a Diageo spokesperson said.
In turn, the company accuses Diddy of not providing them with his portion of the capital needed for the DeLeon venture and disclosing private business dealings to the public.
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