October 29, 2023
Sean Combs and Diageo continue their court battles as the mogul sued the liquor conglomerate on Oct. 27 in the New York Supreme Court. According to the Daily Beast, Combs claims that he faces “unlawful retaliation by a powerful international corporation” following legal fallout brought about by his choice to sue the company for racial discrimination in May. Combs also alleged that the company did not promote brands Combs was associated with, Ciroc and DeLeon as well as they did others.
In the lawsuit, Combs claims that Diageo has blackballed him from the liquor and spirits industry, saying that “Diageo has instructed distributors and retailers of DeLeón not to talk to Mr. Combs about his own brand. Diageo, with its massive power in the industry, is doing everything it can to send a message, not only to Mr. Combs but to others like him: Speak up and you will be punished.”
Robert T. Chin, head of Spirits at Combs Wines and Spirits, also claims in an affidavit that, “Diageo representatives began canceling meetings and failing to timely respond to communications written by Combs Wines’ representatives, which was out of the norm.”
Chin added, “And, for the first time, Diageo took the position that Mr. Combs was not allowed to attend meetings with Diageo about DeLeón.”
Diageo, for their part, has responded to the claims via a statement issued to the Daily Beast.
“This is yet another attempt by Mr. Combs to extract funds from Diageo after the organization has invested tens of millions of dollars in the marketing and development of DeLeón, in contrast to Mr. Combs’ total investment of $1,000. We are disappointed that Mr. Combs continues to damage the DeLeón brand while attempting to litigate a business dispute resulting from his own inability to effectively collaborate and sufficiently contribute. These allegations are completely without merit, and we will defend against them,” the statement read.
As BLACK ENTERPRISE previously reported, Combs has been accused by Diageo of threatening the lawsuit in an attempt to get Diageo to pay him a sum of $100 million or he would take his claims of racial discrimination public. Diageo, of course, said it did not bite on those alleged terms, and when Combs brought his suit, the liquor conglomerate dissolved their relationship in response. Diageo initially wanted to hide the legal proceedings behind an arbitrator, but Combs fought to have the case tried in the public view, where his claims of racial discrimination would be seen by the public and covered by the media. In September, the spirits conglomerate responded via a court filing that they indeed “disproportionately supported and grown the DeLeón brand despite Combs Parties’ repeated failures to live up to their own commitments.”
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