More claims against multi-billion-dollar spirits conglomerate Diageo have arisen from Sean “Diddy” Combs.
As previously reported by AfroTech, the Hip-Hop mogul accused the company of neglecting the spirits brands he’s associated with and failing to invest in diverse-owned brands as they initially promised.
The Latest Court Filing
Now, after the organization’s move to dismiss the case, in a new court filing, Diddy alleges that Diageo engaged in “illegal and outrageous retaliation” toward him due to his decision to take the company to court.
“The message is clear – if you dare to shed light on Diageo’s conduct, you will be punished,” read an official court document supporting the Bad Boys Entertainment creator’s claims.
Per Diddy’s claims, a part of the alleged retaliation includes Diageo’s attempts to end its relationship with the REVOLT founder, which will sever all ties to DeLeón Tequila and CÎROC Vodka brands.
Diddy also alleges that the spirits company has gone as far as to block him from delivering a speech that was already planned to take place at a distributor event.
“These brazen acts of retaliation serve as a testament to the power dynamics at play within the industry and underline the urgent need for justice and accountability,” the court filing read.
What’s more, the court filing states that Diddy has “satisfied all his obligations under his DeLeón joint venture agreement, including funding.”
The Original Agreement
Per the contract, “Diageo, with its immense resources, would fund the DeLeón JV and be primarily responsible for ensuring sufficient production and distribution.”
Thus, this would leave Diddy with the responsibility of using his global influence to market DeLeón to consumers, distributors, and retailers.
“While Diageo has self-servingly misrepresented the goals of Combs’ lawsuit in the press, its attempt to retaliate against Combs for asserting his legal rights will not work in court,” said Diddy’s attorney John Hueston in the court document.
In his earlier arguments, Diddy also alleged that the spirits company moved in a way that was racially insensitive by presenting him with a watermelon flavor for the tequila brand.
“Mr. Combs’ bad-faith actions have clearly breached his contracts and left us with no choice but to move to dismiss his baseless complaint and end our business relationship,” said Diageo in a previous statement to The Seattle Times. “We have exhausted every reasonable remedy and see no other path forward.”
A separate letter sent to Diageo by Hueston suggests that there’s no legal basis for the company’s claims that Diddy breached his previous contracts in an effort to end the agreement he has with the company for both DeLeón Tequila and CÎROC Vodka.
Per Diddy, the filed briefing outlines Diageo’s actions and alleges that their response “serves as a warning to anyone who attempts to expose its conduct.”
A Diageo spokesperson followed up with a statement to AfroTech that read:
“This is a business dispute and should not be recast as anything other than that. We have exercised our contractual rights to terminate the marketing services agreement in place for Cîroc and begin the wind down of the DeLeón joint venture. Our actions are consistent with our desire to protect the significant investment we have made in both brands and their future growth. Mr. Combs’ longstanding bad faith actions, false accusations, and breaches of contract overwhelmingly support Diageo’s justified decision to sever ties.”
Editorial Note: This piece has been updated since initially published.