Diageo’s Stand: No Diddy in Tequila Ads Amid Rape Accusations
Diageo, one of the biggest alcohol companies in the world, is pushing back on a campaign by Sean Combs, also known as "Diddy," to endorse their newly acquired Tequila label DeLeon. The cause for their resistance can be traced back to Combs' history of criminal complaints including rape allegations. In 1999, Combs was accused of rape by a former employee. The charges were dropped, but not before the case cast a negative light on Combs. In 2003, Combs paid an undisclosed amount of money to the complaining woman to settle the matter. It was alleged in court documents that Combs threatened to terminate the woman's employment if she didn't have sex with him. Due to Combs' past, Diageo is citing his history of accusations in an effort to keep him away from their Tequila endorsement campaign. They have refused Diddy multiple attempts to enter into a relationship with the company, and although they acknowledge his fame and potential to boost sales, they are not willing to overlook the allegations associated with him. Diageo's decision raises the question of how far a company should go in vetting potential customers or endorsers. While this may seem like a move by Diageo to shield itself from public criticism, it could be viewed as an important stand against sexual assault. Other companies considering similar endorsement deals with high-profile celebrities should take notice of Diageo's warning. It is an example of how due diligence can save companies from getting wrapped up in PR nightmares.