US rapper and producer Sean Combs also known as Diddy has filed a lawsuit against multinational spirits giant Diageo, accusing it of racism.
In a complaint registered Wednesday with the New York Supreme Court the entrepreneur has accused the British conglomerate of intentionally sabotaging a joint-venture spirits brand.
Combs said Diageo "kneecapped" his Ciroc Vodka and DeLeon Tequila brands by robbing them of resources after they were "typecasted" as "Black brands" meant only for "urban" customers.
Diageo and its management "put their feet on the neck of Mr. Combs' brands," the suit asserts.
"In a business where production, distribution, and sales are the pillars of success, Ciroc and DeLeon have been starved of resources for all three."
In a statement emailed to AFP, Diageo denied the allegations, describing its 15-year partnership with Combs as "productive and mutually beneficial."
"This is a business dispute, and we are saddened that Mr. Combs has chosen to recast this matter as anything other than that," a spokesperson said.
"Our steadfast commitment to diversity within our company and the communities we serve is something we take very seriously. We categorically deny the allegations that have been made and will vigorously defend ourselves in the appropriate forum."
The suit also states that the UK-based company extended more support to celebrity-backed rival brands while failing to deliver on promises to Combs Wines and Spirits.
"Diageo has treated Mr. Combs and his brands worse than others because he is Black," the suit said, adding that one of the company's managers "directly acknowledged the company's racist undertones in 2019."
The Grammy-winning star best-known for his stage names Puff Daddy, P Diddy and Diddy said he intends to seek billions of dollars in damages in other legal actions against Diageo.
Denying any wrongdoing 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."
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