Diageo has ended its business relationship with Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs and intends to request the legal case brought against it by the US rapper’s Combs Wines and Spirits company be thrown out of court.
The Johnnie Walker maker issued a statement on Tuesday (27 June) accusing Combs of “bad faith actions” that breached the terms of his contract with the spirits giant.
It added it has been left with “no choice but to move to dismiss his baseless complaint and end our business relationship”.
Just Drinks understands Diageo has filed a motion to dismiss the case and, if that request is rejected, ask the judge to rule proceedings must take place in arbitration.
Combs went public with his plans to sue the Guinness brand owner last month. In court filings to the New York state, the Grammy award-winning artist accused Diageo of racism and intentionally sabotaging the DeLeon Tequila brand.
Combs claimed his Tequila product – purchased as a 50-50 joint venture with (and funded by) Diageo in 2013 – was treated differently by the company and given less priority than other celebrity-backed brands because he is black.
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Diageo strenuously denies any such claims.
“We are saddened that Mr. Combs has chosen to recast a business dispute as anything other than that and chosen to damage a productive and valued partnership,” Diageo said in its statement. “Mr. Combs’ bad-faith actions have clearly breached his contracts and left us no choice but to move to dismiss his baseless complaint and end our business relationship.”
The Ciroc brand owner said Combs had “repeatedly undermined our partnerships and threatened to publicly defame Diageo if we did not meet his unreasonable financial demands”.
It added it had “tried for years to salvage the broken relationship” between it and the I’ll be Missing You singer, but had now “exhausted every reasonable remedy” to resolve the dispute.
“We funded the purchase of DeLeón for the joint venture and proceeded to invest more than $100m to grow the brand,” the statement continued. “Despite having made nearly a billion dollars over the course of our 15-year relationship, Mr. Combs contributed a total of $1,000 and refused to honour his commitments.”
Just Drinks has approached Combs Wines and Spirits for comment.