Sean “Diddy” Combs’ entrepreneurial efforts and business ventures are vast, from Sean John apparel to Bad Boy Records. But his foray into the food and spirits industry with a multi-year investment deal in vodka brand Ciroq and tequila brand DeLeon has hit a snag — the mogul is suing the labels’ parent company for not investing in the products as promised.
Diddy filed a lawsuit in New York’s Supreme Court alleging spirits behemoth Diageo North America failed to allocate as many marketing resources to his brands as it did other celebrity brands, accusing leadership at the company of “kneecapping” growth of Ciroc and DeLeon because they were viewed as “Black brands.”
Combs also claims Diageo leadership told him the company was not mass distributing to “urban neighborhoods” and that if he was “Martha Stewart”, who’s reportedly a big fan of Belvedere and Zubrowka vodkas, Ciroc and DeLeon would be “more widespread.”
“Cloaking itself in the language of diversity and equality is good for Diageo’s business, but it is a lie,” the lawsuit states, per AP. “While Diageo may conspicuously include images of its Black partners in advertising materials and press releases, its words only provide the illusion of inclusion.”
Combs’ business with Diageo began in 2007 when he signed a 50/50 multi-year deal with the spirits company that was expected to bring the mogul over $100 million if it performed up to expectations.
He penned a similar 50/50 deal with Diageo and DeLeon in 2014.
Diageo North America is denying Combs’ allegations.
“This is a business dispute, and we are saddened that Mr. Combs has chosen to recast this matter as anything other than that,” Diageo said in a statement. “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.”
Diddy’s net worth is an estimated $900 million.