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Diddy Settles Racial Discrimination Lawsuit Against Diageo, Officially Ending the Partnership

Diddy settles Diageo lawsuit

Photo Credit: N Chadwick / CC by 2.0

Sean “Diddy” Combs and spirits giant Diageo announced Tuesday, January 16, that they have settled their ongoing legal dispute and dissolved their partnership over Cîroc Vodka and DeLeón Tequila.

“Mr. Combs has withdrawn all of his allegations against Diageo and will voluntarily dismiss his lawsuits against Diageo with prejudice,” reads a joint statement from both parties to DMN. “As such, Diageo and Mr. Combs have no ongoing business relationship, either with respect to Cîroc Vodka or DeLeón Tequila, which Diageo now solely owns.”

In May, Combs sued Diageo with allegations that the company had neglected the DeLeón brand they co-owned. Instead, the lawsuit says Diageo showered resources on its other two tequila brands, Don Julio and Casamigos. Combs also accused Diageo of racial discrimination, claiming the company had written DeLeón off as “urban” and had described it as a “Black brand.”

Diageo announced in June that it was ending its partnership with Combs over his supposed breach of contract for revealing proprietary information in his lawsuits filed against them. The company claims that Combs was paid “nearly $1 billion” over the years they worked together.

The partnership began in 2007 to develop Diageo’s Cîroc brand, with Combs handling the brand’s strategic marketing and working with the company to develop new products within the line. That led to rapid sales growth for Cîroc.

In 2013, Combs looked to cash in on tequila’s growing popularity in the United States, forming a joint venture with Diageo to purchase DeLeón — at the time a little-known brand that was mostly sold in Hollywood bars for $1,000 a bottle.

Financial terms of the settlement between Combs and Diageo have not been disclosed. Still, given the sexual assault allegations that have since cropped up against Combs, Diageo may have been quick to turn up the pressure in the hopes of a quick resolution.

Diddy’s attention is seemingly focused elsewhere, having announced he would not attend the 2024 Grammy Awards, despite receiving his first nomination in 20 years.

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