Home » Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs pursues full enforcement of 2021 agreement in Diageo lawsuit

Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs pursues full enforcement of 2021 agreement in Diageo lawsuit

by Mfonobong Nsehe
Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs

Weeks after African-American billionaire Sean “Diddy” Combs filed a lawsuit against spirits giant Diageo, alleging racial discrimination in the treatment of his brands, he is now seeking the intervention of the New York Supreme Court to enforce a 2021 agreement.

The agreement requires Diageo to treat Combs’ DeLeon tequila brand “at least as favorably” as its other tequila brands.

Diddy’s latest move comes after he claims that Diageo considers his brands, Ciroc vodka, and DeLeon tequila, as “Black brands,” accusing the company of neglecting his brands and marginalizing their appeal by marketing them as “urban” brands.

Initially, many details, including the 2021 agreement, were redacted when the lawsuit was filed. However, on Wednesday, Judge Joel Cohen ruled that only limited portions could remain confidential, revealing the specifics of the agreement and Combs’ allegations against Diageo.

According to Combs, Diageo’s treatment of DeLeon worsened after the company acquired two competing tequila brands: Don Julio in 2014 and Casamigos in 2017.

In 2022, while DeLeon was distributed in only three percent of possible outlets, Don Julio had a presence of 36 percent. Combs also revealed that in 2021, he learned that Diageo’s agave plants were allocated to other brands, forcing DeLeon to find suppliers in the more expensive spot market.

Additionally, he accused Diageo of making unilateral decisions detrimental to the brand, such as discontinuing popular 375-milliliter “half bottles” and launching a redesigned bottle without any marketing support.

Diddy’s association with Diageo dates back to 2007 when the London-based company approached him about Cîroc vodka.

After years of neglect for DeLeon, a brand he established with Diageo in 2013, the African-American billionaire revealed that Diageo’s decision-making process was marred by racial bias.

Diageo responded to the allegations by emphasizing Combs’ support and endorsement of Ciroc Summer Watermelon over an extended period.

The London-based company accuses Combs of making false and reckless accusations in an attempt to extract monetary damages, adding that DeLeon’s production has increased, resulting in double-digit sales since the 2021 agreement.

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