Diageo Plc, one of the world’s leading alcoholic beverage makers, has cited sexual harassment and rape claims in a renewed push to keep US music and fashion entrepreneur Sean “Diddy” Combs away from its tequila brands.
The London-based company is seeking to sever ties with the hip-hop legend over allegations that he sexually harassed and assaulted a former employee more than a decade ago. In a letter to Diageo, lawyers for Combs strongly denied the allegations and demanded that the company end its campaign against him, according to Bloomberg.
The claims date back to 2008, when Kimberly Birch, then a senior executive at Combs’ Sean John clothing line, accused him of inappropriate touching, verbal abuse, and attempted rape. Combs denied these claims, and reportedly reached a settlement with Birch.
Diageo has made it clear that it will not be doing business with Combs as long as the accusations remain unresolved. The company has repeatedly declined to comment on the case, citing employee confidentiality. However, the letter sent by Combs’ lawyers indicates that the company has taken a stance against the hip-hop star.
In 2018, Diageo had entered an agreement with Combs to create a new tequila brand, DeLeon. However, the company eventually decided to cancel the deal due to the sexual harassment claims, and Combs was subsequently removed from all marketing materials.
Diageo’s new stance highlights its commitment to ensuring a safe working environment for all of its employees, as well as to create a culture of true diversity and inclusion. The company has made it clear that it will investigate any claims of harassment or abuse, no matter who is involved, and it will not tolerate such behavior in any form.
While Diageo and Combs are currently at odds over the allegations, the two parties remain on good terms and are still in discussions regarding other business opportunities. In the meantime, Diageo is continuing its efforts to protect its employees and customers from any form of harm.