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Diddy rips General Motors for name-dropping his network to defend against ‘systemic racism’ accusations

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Sean “Diddy” Combs is accusing General Motors of name-dropping his network to score points with Black America.

The 51-year-old Bad Boy Records founder called out GM on Thursday for using its business relationship with the Revolt Media and TV cable network he founded in 2013 as a shield against racism accusations made by the leaders of several other Black-owned media companies.

“Corporations like General Motors have exploited our culture, undermined our power, and excluded Black entrepreneurs from participating in the value created by Black consumers,” Combs wrote in a scathing open letter posted on Revolt’s website that also criticized Corporate America at-large.

“The same feet these companies use to stand with us in solidarity are the same feet they use to stand on our necks,” he added.

In a Thursday afternoon response, GM pledged to increase the amount of money it spends advertising with Black-owned media companies.

Diddy’s strongly worded statement came in response to recent comments made by GM’s leaders in defense of the amount of advertising revenue the company spends with Black-owned media outlets.

A group of African-American media moguls — including Entertainment Studios and Weather Channel owner Byron Allen, “Big3” 3-on-3 basketball league owner O’Shea “Ice Cube” Jackson and Ebony Magazine owner Junior Bridgeman — recently ran a series of similar advertorials in major newspapers criticizing GM for spending billions of dollars on advertising, but distributing less than 1% of its ad buys on Black-owned media companies.

“The very definition of systemic racism is when you are ignored, excluded and you don’t have true economic inclusion,” the leaders stated in their first advertorial. “General Motors spends billions of dollars in advertising and less than 0.5% goes to Black-Owned Media. This is horrendous considering we as African Americans make up approximately 14% of the population in America and we spend billions buying your vehicles.”

The first full-page advertorial ran in the automaker’s hometown newspaper, the Detroit Free Press, on March 28. Three days later, a similar advertorial appeared in the Wall Street Journal.

Allen, Jackson and the other leaders requested a one-hour Zoom meeting with GM CEO Mary Barra to discuss the issue and establish a “long-term partnership”. Barra initially agreed to the meeting after the first advertorial ran in the Free Press, but postponed it after the additional advertorial ran on March 31 — according to the newspaper.

While defending itself in a Free Press article on April 1, GM listed Revolt as one of the Black-owned media companies with which it does business.

Diddy, who clearly didn’t like the name-drop, said Revolt’s business relationship with GM “is not an example of success.”

“REVOLT, just like other Black-owned media companies, fights for crumbs while GM makes billions of dollars every year from the Black community,” Diddy wrote.

In response, GM spokesperson Patrick Morrissey noted the automaker has doubled the ratio of ad money it spends with Black-owned media companies to a total of 2% of its total spend this year.

“We will increase our spend with this important segment to 4% in 2022, and will continue to grow our spend thereafter with a target of 8% by 2025,” Morrissey said via email. “Black-owned media are a vital component of our marketing mix, and we evaluate our spend for media partners through several core metrics, including transparency, innovation, ad quality, audience delivery and brand safety.”

This isn’t the first time Diddy has called out a major company for name-dropping Revolt in defense against racism accusations. In November 2019, he took Comcast to task for citing its distribution partnership with Revolt in statements to the media about the Supreme Court case brought by Allen, who sued Comcast for refusing to add his company’s channels to its cable packages.

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