Sean “Diddy” Combs has walked back his racial discrimination lawsuit against London-based alcohol spirits company Diageo over the alleged neglect of and discrimination toward his tequila brand, DeLeón. Diageo has taken control of Diddy’s DeLeón brand.
“Sean Combs and Diageo have now agreed to resolve all disputes between them. Mr. Combs has withdrawn all of his allegations about Diageo and will voluntarily dismiss his lawsuits against Diageo with prejudice,” a joint statement from Combs and Diageo reads. It was posted Tuesday on Diageo’s website. “Diageo and Mr. Combs have no ongoing business relationship, either with respect to Cîroc vodka or DeLeón tequila, which Diageo now solely owns.”
No other details about the legal matter were provided.
The announcement comes after the music mogul and serial entrepreneur filed a lawsuit against the alcoholic beverage company in May of last year, claiming it racially discriminated against and neglected his tequila brand DeLeón. It also follows Combs facing a number of high-profile sexual assault allegations, several of which he agreed to settle.
In a lawsuit filed last year, Diddy and Combs Wines had called out Diageo for allegedly prioritizing other alcoholic beverage brands, like George Clooney’s Casamigos, which it purchased in 2017 for $1 billion. In 2013, Diddy and Diageo purchased DeLeón as part of a joint venture.
“As Combs Wines and Sean Combs have experienced first-hand, Diageo, by and through its parent company’s Chief Executive Office Ivan Menezes, has proven unwilling to treat its Black partners equally — even when explicitly required by contract to do so,” the filing reads.
Combs and Combs Wines went on to say that Diageo’s public statements about diversity and inclusion are cloaked in a “lie.”
“Rather than equal treatment, Diageo has treated Mr. Combs and his brands worse than others because he is Black. Diageo has typecasted Ciroc and DeLeon, apparently deciding they are ‘Black brands’ that should be targeted only to ‘urban’ consumers,” the filing continued.
The suit also claimed Diageo president Stephen Rust knew about and “directly acknowledged the company’s racist undertones in 2019,” stating that he told Combs some people on Diageo’s leadership team resented Combs over his wealth.
“[Rust] also admitted that Mr. Combs’ race was part of the reason Diageo limited the neighborhoods where the Combs brands were distributed. If Mr. Combs were ‘Martha Stewart,’ Mr. Rust said, things would be different.”
In addition, Combs accused Diageo of neglecting and poorly managing DeLeón’s product stock, distribution and its production of the agave the beverage uses. The sales numbers may help to provide clarity. Casamigos reported a 95.6% sales increase to 2.2 million cases in 2021.
Casamigos is now the top-selling tequila brand, representing 12.6% of tequila sales in the U.S., according to Nielsen data by the consulting firm Bump Williams, The Wall Street Journal reports. Don Julio represents 12.1% and is the No. 3 tequila brand, while DeLeón makes up only 0.4% and sits in the 28th rank.
In a statement sent to TheWrap following the suit’s initial filing last year, Diageo said that it was is “saddened” Combs had presented them in this fashion, calling it “a business dispute,” and pushed its commitment to diversity.
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