On Wednesday, hip hop mogul Diddy filed a lawsuit against his business partner Diageo after he claims his tequila brand DeLeon was neglected and labeled “urban” and a “black brand” after the company paid $1 billion for George Clooney’s spirit brand Casamigos.
According to The Wall Street Journal, Diddy said that the spirits giant “sabotaged” his DeLeon brand tequila by using subpar packaging that “made the product look cheap.”
In the court filing, it was noted that DeLeón’s redesigned bottle label “was prone to bubbling, which made the product look cheap.”
“The rebranded DeLeón product, unsurprisingly, did not take off.”
Additionally, in 2019, a Diageo executive told him that the company had restricted the distribution of DeLeón and his well-known Ciroc vodka because of race.
The court documents added that the executive said his products would receive wider distribution if his business, Combs Wines and Spirit, were owned by Martha Stewart.
Eventually, Combs informed Diageo’s boss Ivan Menezes of his concerns.
He said, “DeLeón continues to be sabotaged by Diageo management and neglect.”
According to the court document, Menezes replied by promising to fix the partnership with Diddy and thanking him for being the “key driver of the success of Cîroc” by being “a champion for the African-American people.”
So far, Diageo has refuted his claims of racial discrimination and brand neglect.
“This is a business dispute, and we are saddened that Mr. Combs has chosen to recast this matter as anything other than that,” a Diageo spokesperson told The Post.
“Our steadfast commitment to diversity within our company and the communities we serve is something we take very seriously.”
The spokesperson said, “We categorically deny the allegations that have been made and will vigorously defend ourselves in the appropriate forum.”
Diddy has also claimed that DeLeón was frequently out of stock and was constrained by a tiny distribution footprint.
According to the Journal, the complaint aims to compel Diageo to uphold certain agreements made between the two parties, including a joint-venture agreement from 2013.
“For more than 15 years, we’ve had a productive and mutually beneficial relationship with Mr. Combs on various business ventures, making significant investments that have resulted in financial success for all involved,” the spokesperson said.
“We are disappointed our efforts to resolve this business dispute amicably have been ignored, and that Mr. Combs has chosen to damage a productive and valued partnership.”
The spokesperson added: “While we respect Mr. Combs as an artist and entrepreneur, his allegations lack merit, and we are confident the facts will show that he has been treated fairly.”