Diddy’s legal battle against alcohol giant Diageo is on hold following a panel of judges granting the company’s request for a stay of the lawsuit.
The legal action brought by Sean “Diddy” Combs against Diageo, the alcohol company, alleging that the latter treats his brands unfairly due to his black ethnicity, has been put on hold until 2024.
In an attempt to persuade the appeals court to send the case to private arbitration, Diageo requested a stay or a halt in the legal proceedings, and a panel of New York judges granted it on Tuesday.
Attorneys for Diddy described the request as a “desperate attempt” to avoid being held accountable for discriminatory behavior.
“Once the appellate court considers the actual merits, we are confident that they will reach the same conclusion as two separate judges already: that Diageo can’t avoid a public trial,” said Diddy’s attorney, John Hurston.
In late May, Combs filed a lawsuit against Diageo, claiming that the company had neglected his liquor brands, Cîroc Vodka and DeLeón Tequila, due to his being black, in violation of its commitment to diversity and inclusion.
The company “cloaking itself in the language of diversity and equality is good for Diageo’s business, but it is a lie,” according to Diddy’s attorneys in the lawsuit.
“This is a business dispute, and we are saddened that Mr. Combs has chosen to recast this matter as anything other than that,” a Diageo spokesperson said in a statement at the time. We take great pride in our unwavering commitment to diversity, both within our organization and in the communities we serve. We vehemently refute the accusations made, and we will mount a strong defense in the proper forum.
Diageo’s President of Reserve and New Business, Stephen Rust, is accused in the lawsuit of telling Diddy that, among other things, “things would be different” if he were Martha Stewart and that being black “is part of the reason Diageo limited the neighborhoods where the Combs brands were distributed.”
After Diageo filed a countersuit and severed ties with Combs, the latter filed a second lawsuit against the company, accusing Diageo of “illegal retaliation” and claiming Diageo lacked the legal right to terminate his brand deals.
“While Diageo has self-serving misrepresented the goals of Combs’ lawsuit in the press, its attempt to retaliate against Combs for asserting his legal rights will not work in court,” wrote Diddy’s attorneys.