P. Diddy seems to be caught up in a storm of criticism right now over his last casting call for a Ciroc ad. As reported by Advertising Age, it was believed that his company sent out a request for “white, Hispanic or light skinned African-American” women for his next Ciroc ad. The whole thing sounds preposterous doesn’t it? I mean, his baby mama isn’t light is she? Ok, there was that little thing with Jennifer Lopez, and his other baby mama, Misa Hylton Brim is a little ethnically undefined, but then there’s…well, Sony did tell us in our April 1 edition of the ThisNThat that he was dating Cassie now, yet another ethnically undefined “light skinned” young woman. Ok, ok, ok, well none of that has anything to do with who he chooses to select to represent Ciroc or other business ventures. In fact, Attorney David Honig sent out the following e-mail to try to shed some light on what really happened:
Subject:Updating — Ciroc – casting call – race and color discrimination
Further updating regarding the casting call for a Ciroc promotion seeking “Whites, Hispanics, or light skinned African Americans” —
Yesterday (04-01-09) I met with senior officials of Ciroc and Blue Flame (Sean Combs’ company, which is a promotional partner with Ciroc). I’m not yet prepared to say who WAS responsible for the casting call, but I’m absolutely convinced that neither Sean Combs, his company Blue Flame, nor Miami-based Ethnicity Models was responsible. They are equal opportunity employers that for many years have promoted diversity and have hired or made possible the employment of African Americans of all complexions.
Further, Ciroc was not the source of the casting call, and it did not direct or authorize subcontractors or others to undertake a promotion whose models were to be selected based on color.
Fortunately, the promotion last weekend went smoothly: the casting call was corrected, and no model who showed up was turned down based on color. But it’s still necessary to work through how this happened, who should be held accountable, what are the consequences, and what steps will be taken to prevent recurrences.
Ciroc and its parent company are investigating internally and working through the issues. I’ll report back again shortly.
FYI: Attorney David Honig is the Executive Director of Minority Media & Telecommunications Council (MMTC) Washington, D.C. 20010. – www.mmtconline.org/