Record industry veteran LA Reid has been sued over allegations of sexual assault and harassment made by a former colleague from his time running Sony Music’s Arista Records.
In her lawsuit filed with the courts in New York, Drew Dixon claims that Reid sexually assaulted her twice in 2001 during her time working as A&R at the major label. The first alleged assault occurred on a private plane on the way to a company retreat in Puerto Rico.
She had been led to believe that a number of execs from the label would be joining Reid on that plane, but in fact she was the only one. He began sexually harassing Drew almost immediately, subsequently “kissing her and digitally penetrated her vulva without her consent".
The second incident occurred in the back of a car in New York. Dixon says that she only agreed to join him in the car because there was a driver and she thought she would be safe.
However, the driver simply “stared straight ahead" as Reid began “to grope and kiss” her, even though she “squirmed and pushed him away”. Reid then became visibly irritated, and once again “digitally penetrated” her vulva without her consent.
Dixon says that she knew formally reporting the assaults within the record company would be "career ending", so she simply sought to avoid Reid whenever possible.
But he continued to harass her, she claims. And as she continued to resist his advances, he started retaliating by de-prioritising her artists, including those that she was looking to sign. That included passing on both Kanye West and John Legend.
Ultimately she quit Arista, opting to study for an MBA at Harvard Business School instead. She later pursued other projects in the music industry, but said that coming into contact with Reid's "enablers" at other major labels “triggered depression”, while some opportunities in the business were cut short because of her history with the label boss.
Dixon's lawsuit is being filed under New York’s Adult Survivors Act, which provides a one year window in which the alleged victims of sexual offences can file new civil proceedings in relation to past incidents that would usually fall outside the statute of limitations. The deadline for filing litigation under the act is 24 Nov.
Although this is the first time she has gone legal, Dixon previously made allegations against Reid, as well as Def Jam co-founder Russell Simmons, in a New York Times article in 2017.
Reid had a long career in the major label system, ultimately ended up at Sony Music's Epic Records. However, he exited that role somewhat abruptly in 2017 following allegations of sexual harassment. He subsequently set up new music company HitCo which he then sold to Concord last year.