Diddy dresses as Batman for Halloween to taunt Warner Bros. and call on studios to end strike

Diddy smiles while wearing black aviator glasses and a sparkling bomber jacket
Sean “Diddy” Combs said on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” this week that Warner Bros. Discovery had sent him a cease and-desist letter over the Joker costume he wore last Halloween.
(Chris Pizzello / Invision / Associated Press)
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Maybe Diddy is the hero Hollywood deserves.

For Halloween this year, Sean “Diddy” Combs was seen taking to the streets of Los Angeles dressed as Batman, unveiling what appeared to be a replica Batsuit and Batmobile from Christopher Nolan’s “Dark Knight” films.

But the fit was meant to be more than just some spooky-season fun — he made things political and used the fit to rail against the studios in what appeared to be a pro-SAG-AFTRA message and an obvious taunt of Warner Bros. Pictures.


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Last year, the hip-hop music executive celebrated Halloween dressed as the Joker, inspired by Heath Ledger’s performance in the 2008 film “The Dark Knight.” While the near-exact costume entertained fans online, Warner Bros. Pictures, the studio behind the movie, apparently was not pleased.

While a guest on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” on Monday, Diddy alleged that the studio had sent him a cease-and-desist letter, threatening legal action for violating its trademark on the Joker character and saying “that I did it too good.”

After Kimmel egged him on to ignore the alleged threat and repeat the costume, Diddy pointed to a camera as it zoomed closer and emphatically announced, “Tomorrow, Warner Bros. lawyer can you see me? ... the head of legal, tomorrow, watch what I do,” which drew a loud applause from the audience.


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On Tuesday afternoon, Diddy followed up his talk-show tease by posting a video on his Instagram account in which he unfurled six sheets of paper that he claimed contained the threats of legal action from Warner Bros. “To the m— that took all this time to tell me to not be the Joker, you win, I’m not gonna be the Joker this year. Just because yo a— had enough time to f— up my m— Halloween, now watch me,” he said before the video ended abruptly.

By Halloween evening, the billionaire music-label executive had revealed his Batman costume with a sleekly produced video in which he plays the Darkest Knight, who is tired of “the greed” and the “empty suits telling us that we don’t deserve more.”

After a pep talk from social media sensation Lil Arsenio, Diddy takes to the streets in his Batmobile before he emerges in the darkened office of a Hollywood studio executive. Diddy grabs the startled executive by the collar of his suit and drags him across his desk, alongside a pair of Oscar awards, while Diddy demands that he “end the strike — end negotiations.”


After he coerces the executive to say, “The strike is over,” we see the man unconscious, with his tie stuffed in his mouth, lying next to a note announcing the end of the strike. It’s signed, “Love, The Darkest Knight.”

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The video ends with Diddy, who has traded his bat suit for a black T-shirt, sipping coffee while reading the headline “The Darkest Knight Ends the Strike” in a copy of the Gotham Times newspaper.

“The strike is over, baby — we did it,” he says to his young daughter, Love, who is wearing bat wings on her head.

Representatives for Warner Bros. Discovery and Diddy did not immediately respond to The Times’ requests for comment.

After more than 100 days on strike, SAG-AFTRA, the union that represents Hollywood actors, and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers have resumed talks and been meeting frequently over the last couple weeks. An agreement would end the months-long work stoppage that has ground much of the entertainment industry to a halt.

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Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, SAG-AFTRA national executive director and chief negotiator, called recent discussions productive and said that while “things are moving in the right direction,” both sides are “still far from an agreement.” Yet, one studio source expressed optimism to The Times that a deal could be reached soon.


Though it was unclear whether Diddy, who has appeared in various films and shows throughout his career, is a member of SAG-AFTRA, his seemingly pro-union Batman stunt would ironically defy the guild’s guidance for members to avoid posting “photos of costumes inspired by struck content on social media” during Halloween season.

Actors Megan Fox and Machine Gun Kelly flouted the strike guidelines over the weekend by posting photos on Instagram of themselves dressed as “Kill Bill” characters for Halloween.

Footage also surfaced on Tuesday showing Diddy dressed in his Darkest Knight costume walking stiffly along Selma Avenue near Cahuenga Boulevard in Hollywood as a dramatic score played in the background. Onlookers crowded around him to take video and photos.

“Diddy can’t be Joker,” one passer-by called out as the mogul made his way down the street, “but he sure can be Batman in Hollywood!”

He eventually made his way into a party at the the Highlight Room rooftop bar, where he wasn’t the only music star or superhero there. Singer Chloe Bailey showed up to the party dressed as “The Incredibles” character Elastigirl in a sleek, shiny costume. But Diddy remained center stage, at one point climbing atop the roof of the bar, stoicly staring out at partygoers as a spotlight shone on him.

Times staff writer Christi Carras contributed to this report.