The producer suing Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs over allegations of sexual harassment and assault, Rodney ‘Lil Rod’ Jones, has removed Universal Music and its CEO Lucian Grainge as defendants on his lawsuit. The major has been scathing of its inclusion in the list of defendants and very critical of Jones’ lawyer Tyrone Blackburn.

In a new filing with the court, Blackburn said that, having read Universal’s response to his client’s lawsuit, he had “concluded that there is no legal basis for the claims and allegations that were made against the UMG defendants”. Therefore he asked the court to dismiss those claims with prejudice, meaning that Jones will not be able to file any new proceedings based on those allegations.

According to Billboard, Universal lawyer Donald Zakarin welcomed the move, but issued another harsh rebuke of Blackburn. Stating that Jones’ attorney had been told from the start that “there was no basis, not legal and not factual, for the claims and accusations that were alleged”, Zakarin wrote, “the UMG defendants should never have been named in any of these complaints and we should never have been required to make motions to dismiss the complaints in this action”.

Jones worked with Combs on 2023’s ‘The Love Album’, which was released in partnership with Universal. The producer’s lawsuit makes a stack of allegations against Combs and his associates, including the core claims of sexual harassment and assault, as well as describing various other criminal activities. It is one of a number of lawsuits accusing Combs of sexual misconduct.

Among the allegations made against Universal and Grainge were that the company sponsored and the CEO attended listening parties at Combs’ LA home where sex workers and underage girls were present, and the drinks of female guests were routinely drugged. 

“Grainge knew or should have known that Mr Combs was drugging the attendees through laced bottles of DeLeon Tequila and Ciroc Vodka”, the lawsuit stated. "As a sponsor of these events, defendant Grainge had a duty and obligation to ensure that sex workers and underaged girls were not present, and that Mr Combs was not spiking the alcohol with date rape drugs”. 

In its initial response to the lawsuit Universal denied all the allegations made against the company and its executives, while claiming that Blackburn had failed to fulfil his legal duties to assess the validity of those allegations before filing his client’s lawsuit.  

“A licence to practice law is a privilege”, Universal’s court filing added. “Mr Blackburn has misused that licence to self-promote, gratuitously, falsely and recklessly accusing the UMG defendants of criminal behaviour. Mr Blackburn has conducted no good faith inquiry into the facts, instead pleading only demonstrably false conclusions”.

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