July 21st, 2024

Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs and Diageo settle, withdraw lawsuits in case that accused Diageo of racism

By Dee-ann Durbin, The Associated Press on January 16, 2024.

File - Sean Combs arrives at the Oscars on March 27, 2022, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)

Rapper and entrepreneur Sean “Diddy” Combs has withdrawn his lawsuit against Diageo as part of a settlement with the London-based spirits giant.

Combs and Diageo “have now agreed to resolve all disputes between them,” the two parties said in a statement released Tuesday. Diageo is now the sole owner of Ciroc vodka and DeLeon tequila, two brands Combs had promoted in the past, and has no business relationship with Combs going forward.

No further details of the settlement were released.

Combs sued Diageo last May, saying the company didn’t make promised investments in Ciroc and DeLeon and treated them as inferior “urban” products.

Combs, who signed a deal to promote Ciroc in 2007 and purchased DeLeon with Diageo in 2013, said the neglect worsened after Diageo bought two competing tequila brands: Don Julio in 2014 and Casamigos in 2017. Diageo owns more than 200 brands, including Guinness beer and Tanqueray gin.

Combs, who is Black, also accused Diageo of racism. In court filings, Combs said Diageo leadership told him race was one of the reasons it limited distribution to “urban” neighborhoods. Combs was also told some Diageo leaders resented him for making too much money.

Diageo denied those claims. In legal filings, Diageo accused Combs of resorting to “false and reckless” allegations “in an effort to extract additional billions” from the company.

Combs’ reputation took a serious hit after the lawsuit was filed. In November, he was sued by R&B singer Cassie, who said he subjected her to a yearslong abusive relationship that included beatings and rape. Combs settled the lawsuit with Cassie, whose full name is Casandra Ventura, a few days after it was filed.

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