As the list of sexual violence lawsuits against Sean “Diddy” Combs continue to rise, the number of brands affiliated with the music icon continues to decline: with 18 brands all pulling away from Comb’s latest company, Empower Global.
Empower Global is an e-commerce site for Black-owned businesses, which Combs invested over $20 million into. As the company launched in July, Combs told the public that he was more excited about this company’s launch than he was for Bad Boy Entertainment back in 1993. He told the press that “This is a platform about sharing power and empowering each other. This is something that is for my people. It’s a tipping point for us to wake up, start paying attention and supporting each other while taking responsibility and accountability.”
Eighteen brands confirmed to the press that ties were cut between themselves and Combs’ new e- commerce platform due to the sexual violence lawsuits. The founder of House of Takura, a luxury bag, eyewear and apparel company that was previously partnered with Empower Global, told ‘Rolling Stone’ that: “We take the allegations against Mr. Combs very seriously and find such behavior abhorrent and intolerable. We believe in victims’ rights, and support victims in speaking their truth, even against the most powerful of people.”
Many brand owners, including Annette Njau from House of Takura, say that they knew the partnership was over once they saw that Cassie Ventura had filed her lawsuit. Many of these brands have already been removed from the Empower Global site, with numerous giving statements about their reasoning.
Annette Azan, founder of Nuudii System, said: “While this decision was difficult due [to] the reverence we once held for Mr. Combs as a leader in business and entertainment, it was clearly the correct choice. Our brand is founded on the belief that every individual is important and worthy of respect, regardless of gender, ethnicity, age, etc. The allegations against Mr. Combs are in direct conflict with these beliefs. In turn, we felt a moral imperative to end our relationship.”
Ashli Goudelock, founder of Tsuri, told ‘Rolling Stone’ that her company “unequivocally seeks to terminate” their partnership with Empower Global, stating that: “As a women-owned and -led company, we do not and will not linger in a gray area about the mistreatment of women.” Founder of a luxury jewelry brand, Fulaba, Haby Barry said that her decision for ending the partnership was clear after she saw the accusations. Barry told the press: “Fulaba is all about empowering women and girls, we will not associate with anything or anyone that is counter to our values.”
Some brands are claiming that the allegations simply pushed them over the edge to end their partnerships after already being unenthused with the performance of the platform. Many brand owners have admitted to “not elevat[ing]” sales or not “get[ting] much traction” on the platform. Rebecca Allen told ‘Rolling Stone’ that her high-end footwear company “has a relationship with Empower Global from its earlier days because [she] was previously connected with the founder who sold the Nile List.” Allen continued: “We enjoyed working with the team, but have not seen meaningful sales, so we were already planning to terminate our relationship at the end of this year. These harrowing allegations have expedited our decision, and we ended our partnership with Empower Global earlier this month.”
Multiple brands are still on board with Empower Global, as they are taking their time to weigh the pros and cons of the partnership. With over 160 brands on the Empower Global site, only 9 have confirmed that they have no plans to leave the brand, with a handful saying they are monitoring the situation closely before making final decisions. Seems like the clock is ticking for Diddy and his empire.