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Sean Combs Settles With Diageo Amid Ongoing Sexual Assault Lawsuits

The music mogul had accused Diageo of racism, while the spirits giant asked a judge to block him from ads following sex assault allegations

Sean Combs has reached a settlement with Diageo and will no longer be a joint owner of the tequila brand DeLeón or have any ties to Cîroc vodka, the embattled music mogul and liquor giant said in a joint statement Tuesday.

The pact comes after Combs first sued Diageo in May, accusing the company of labeling Cîroc and DéLeon as “Black brands” restricted to “urban” markets. He sued again in October, asking for an injunction that would force Diageo to comply with how he viewed his DeLéon contract. Weeks later, his ex-girlfriend Cassie filed a bombshell lawsuit alleging Combs raped her, beat her, and forced her to have sex with other men while he watched. Two more accusers stepped forward with lawsuits on Thanksgiving Day. One alleged Combs drugged and sexually assaulted her and then showed video of the assault to others. The other woman alleged Combs and singer Aaron Hall took turns raping her and her friend in the early Nineties. In early December, a fourth accuser alleged Combs, former Bad Boy president Harve Pierre and a third man gang raped her at Combs’ New York recording studio in 2003 when she was 17 years old.

While Combs vehemently denied the accusations, Diageo had been pressing a judge in New York to deny Combs’ request for control over an incoming $15 million marketing budget for DeLéon Tequila. “The disturbing allegations against Mr. Combs set forth in these lawsuits underscore that any DeLeón campaign featuring Mr. Combs would compound and amplify the harm that he has already caused DeLeón,” Diageo lawyers wrote to Justice Joel M. Cohen of New York County Supreme Court in a letter dated Dec. 1. “Requiring Diageo to pay for such a campaign would be devastating to the brand and to Diageo more broadly.”

In their joint statement released Tuesday, the parties confirmed Combs will no longer be a half owner of the DeLéon brand. The parties did not disclose any financial details of the settlement.

“Sean Combs and Diageo have now agreed to resolve all disputes between them. Mr. Combs has withdrawn all of his allegations about Diageo and will voluntarily dismiss his lawsuits against Diageo with prejudice,” the statement obtained by Rolling Stone reads, meaning the mogul can’t refile the lawsuit in the future. “Diageo and Mr. Combs have no ongoing business relationship, either with respect to Cîroc vodka or DeLeón tequila, which Diageo now solely owns.”

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Diageo previously announced the end of its voluntary association with the music mogul in June, at least related to Cîroc, in which Combs did not have an ownership stake. It accused Combs of making “numerous defamatory and disparaging accusations of racism.”

“Mr. Combs’ bad-faith actions have clearly breached his contracts and left us no choice but to move to dismiss his baseless complaint and end our business relationship,” a Diageo spokesperson said in a statement in June. “Mr. Combs has repeatedly undermined our partnerships and threatened to publicly defame Diageo if we did not meet his unreasonable financial demands.”

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