Diddy has won his first round of battles against the parent company of his DeLeón Tequila brand, Diageo.
According to Billboard, Judge Joel M. Cohen rejected Diageo’s request to have the case dismissed or resolved privately (via arbitration) between the two parties. Judge Cohen made his ruling in the New York Supreme Court on Thursday (September 7).
The case, therefore, is set to proceed in the New York Supreme Court, and will be open to the public when it begins.
“This case has always been about getting fair and equal treatment,” Diddy’s lawyer John Hueston said in a statement (via Billboard). “Today’s decision is an important step in the right direction. Diageo tried to end this action. Today the judge soundly rejected that effort.”
Diddy added: “I’m fighting for fair and equal treatment for everyone. This isn’t just about me. I look forward to continuing this fight in court. We all deserve the same 24 hours.”
Though Diddy originally partnered with DeLeón Tequila all the way back in 2013, the relationship began to sour and ultimately culminated when the Bad Boy Records founder filed a lawsuit against the company back in May. In the suit, Diddy claimed that Diageo was “racist” in its handling of his liquor brands: Cîroc vodka and DeLeón tequila.
The suit also alleges Diageo’s North America division “starved Combs’ Cîroc vodka and DeLeón tequila brands of resources” while carefully tending to other celebrity concoctions.
There were various sections redacted in the filing, but on June 30, the court determined that the vast majority of the redacted material could be made public — which it was on July 5.
New allegations from the lawsuit paint a picture of mismanagement on Diageo’s behalf of both Diddy brands DeLeón Tequila and Cîroc Vodka, as well as claims of racist and unfair treatment toward the Bad Boy mogul. Among other things, Puff and his legal team allege:
- Cîroc and DeLeón continued to be described as “urban brands” within the Diageo portfolio.
- Diageo planned to give all its agave, the main tequila ingredient, to its other tequila brands and allocated none for DeLeon.
- Sloppy paperwork led to a shipment of DeLeón being impounded by Mexican authorities.
- Erratic production has led to repeated shortages of DeLeón, including being out of stock at least 10 times in the past year alone.
Diddy also claims that “in advance of the launch of Ciroc’s watermelon flavor, [he] and his team explained that Diageo needed to be careful about ‘watermelon’ with a brand that it consistently characterized as an ‘urban African American brand.’
“After Diageo’s assurances, [Diddy] signed off on the watermelon flavor for Ciroc,” read the lawsuit. “He was adamant, however, that DeLeon should not launch any flavor until the public learned more about the brand. Yet Diageo showed up in person to Mr. Combs and his team with a developed watermelon-flavored DeLeon Tequila.
“They did this despite DeLeon not having flavored tequila, Mr. Combs’ consistent objection to adding flavors, and the efforts to educate Diageo about the racial history and connotations relating to watermelon.”
Meanwhile, on the music side of things, Diddy has been chosen to receive the Global Icon Award at the 2023 MTV Video Music Awards.
According to Billboard, Mr. Bad Boy himself will receive the prestigious award on the VMAs stage at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey on September 12.
Additionally, Puff recently revealed the stellar cast of fellow musicians on his upcoming project The Love Album: Off the Grid, which is due to be released on Friday (September 15).
Given that it is being billed as Puff’s first fully R&B offering, the album will also feature the distinct voices of Mary J. Blige, John Legend, The-Dream, Babyface, Ty Dolla $ign and Jazmine Sullivan, among others.
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