Diddy Says Diageo Cutting Ties Is Revenge For Lawsuit


Diddy sued Diageo for allegedly neglecting the DeLeón brand in May. Weeks later, the company severed its partnership with him.

Sean “Diddy” Combs accused Diageo of “illegal and outrageous retaliation” for ending its partnership with him after he sued the alcohol company.

Attorney John Hueston, who represents Diddy, urged a judge to reject Diageo’s motion to dismiss his client’s complaint against the company. Hueston claimed Diageo had no legal basis to terminate its contracts with Diddy in a filing submitted on Wednesday (July 19).

“While Diageo has self-servingly misrepresented the goals of Combs’s lawsuit in the press, its attempt to retaliate against Combs for asserting his legal rights will not work in court,” Hueston contended.

Diddy sued Diageo for allegedly mishandling the DeLeón brand in May. He cited racism, calling out the company for treating him and “his brands worse than others because he is Black.”

Diageo denied any wrongdoing. The company insisted Diddy’s allegations lacked merit and cut ties with him in June.

“Mr. Combs’ longstanding bad faith actions, false accusations and breaches of contract overwhelmingly support Diageo’s justified decision to sever ties,” the company said in a statement.

Earlier this month, Hueston’s law firm demanded Diageo put a stop to its alleged retaliation. Diddy’s legal team disputed any breach of contract in a letter sent to Diageo’s lawyers on July 11.

“Combs Wines has not breached the DeLeón Agreement and Diageo’s claims to the contrary are obviously made in retaliation for Combs Wines’ exercise of its legal rights,” Hueston’s firm argued. “We urge Diageo to withdraw its feigned notice of breach.”

Diddy’s legal team also took issue with Diageo saying it had the contractual ability to prevent Combs Wines from “speaking with distributors and retailers about DeLeón.” Lawyers said none of the contractual provisions cited by Diageo contained such restrictions.

“All available evidence thus indicates that Diageo is using its significant market power to intimidate market participants from speaking to Combs Wines about DeLeón,” attorneys declared. “Continuing to do so will have devastating effects on DeLeón sales. And based on Diageo’s decade-long neglect of DeLeón, it is reasonable to expect that the brand will suffer further decline without Combs Wines’ continued active involvement.”

Diddy’s lawyers deemed Diageo’s actions to be “wholly improper.” Attorneys believed the company used its market power to bully Combs Wines.

Diageo and Diddy co-own DeLeón. Diageo claimed it invested more than $100 million in the brand while the Hip-Hop mogul only contributed $1,000.