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Craft Beer Times | Diddy Accuses Diageo of Racial Bias in Lawsuit

Diddy Accuses Diageo of Racial Bias in Lawsuit

Diddy Accuses Diageo of Racial Bias in Lawsuit

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The Allegations

Rapper and businessman Diddy, whose real name is Sean Combs, has reportedly filed a $100 million lawsuit against spirits maker Diageo North America and its subsidiary, Vodka brand Ciroc, on the grounds of racial discrimination. Combs, who is also the founder of Ciroc, alleges that the brand consistently favored white celebrities in their endorsement deals and promotions, while not giving him the same opportunities.

The Specifics

Combs has been a spokesperson for Ciroc for over a decade, and helped in the brand’s meteoric rise to becoming one of the most popular vodka brands in the world. However, he alleges that the company made false promises to him and failed to give him the same promotional opportunities given to non-black celebrities.

The complaint, filed in the Los Angeles County Superior Court, cites specific examples of what Combs believes was racial discrimination in marketing and promotional decisions. For example, Combs claims that a 2013 deal with rapper Jay-Z, who is also African American, was supposed to be a joint venture with Ciroc, but was eventually given to another vodka brand owned by Diageo. In addition to this, he claims that white celebrities like George Clooney and Ryan Reynolds were given more favorable treatment, despite having little to no equity stake in their respective spirit brands, unlike Combs himself.

The Response

Diageo’s representatives have denied Combs’ allegations, calling them baseless and untrue. In a statement, the company stated that “we are confident that this frivolous lawsuit will be dismissed”. The company has also said that Combs’ contracts were all fair and equitable, and he was paid generously for his work with Ciroc.

The Implications And Significance

The lawsuit, if it goes forward, could have serious implications on how brands and companies approach celebrity endorsement deals. In recent years, brands have been under increasing pressure to be more inclusive and diverse, and accusations of racial discrimination can have significant financial and reputational consequences. Additionally, Combs’ lawsuit could also shed light on other instances of racial discrimination in the entertainment industry, and bring attention to the lack of opportunities afforded to people of color in the business world.


The allegations against Diageo and Ciroc, if proven true, are a stark reminder of the ongoing battle for racial equality and representation in the business world. Celebrities and influencers of color should not have to fight tooth and nail to receive the same opportunities, promotions, and recognition as their white counterparts. The lawsuit highlights the importance of holding companies accountable for their decisions and practices, and creating a more equitable society for all.

While it remains to be seen what the outcome of this lawsuit will be, it is clear that it has already sparked important conversations about race, representation, and the power dynamics at play in corporate America.


Dustin is a writer about craft beer and a professional brewer in the city of Chicago. He has written for several magazines and has over a decade of experience in the beer industry. He is currently working on a book about the history of beer in Chicago.

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