- Music mogul L.A. Reid has been sued for sexual assault and harassment by a former colleague
- Drew Dixon, who worked for Reid during her employment at Arista Records, claimed in her lawsuit she was assaulted twice by Reid in 2001
- Dixon claims Reid impeded in her career and preventing her from signing and cultivating artists such as John Legend when she rebuffed him in other instances
Music mogul L.A. Reid has been sued for sexual assault and harassment by a former colleague.
Dixon alleges she was assaulted by Reid on a private plane and in the back of his private car.
Dixon, who rose to Vice President of A&R during her employment at Arista and has previously accused Reid of misconduct, claims Reid impeded in her career and preventing her from signing and cultivating artists such as John Legend when she rebuffed him in other instances.
She departed the company in 2002 and would return to the music industry, but her career failed to reach the same trajectory it initially achieved, according to the New York Times.
Dixon claims the issues began shortly after Reid joined Arista as the CEO and president in 2000. ‘Almost immediately … Mr. Reid began sexualizing and harassing Ms. Dixon,’ the lawsuit alleges.
Dixon – who previously accused Russell Simmons of rape, which he denied – alleges the first assault occurred on a plane bound to Puerto Rico for the company’s retreat.
She was set to fly on a private plane with Reid and other senior executives, but instead found it was just her and Reid when she arrived.
Reid allegedly started ‘flirting with her right away,’ the suit claims.
As the two waited for the other travelers, Reid allegedly asked Dixon to sit beside him to go over work. However, he allegedly started ‘playing with her hair, kissing her and digitally penetrat[ing] her vulva without her consent.’
Dixon claimed she ensured her assistant was with her for the rest of the trip to avert Reid’s sexual advances.
After the trip, Dixon claims she attempted to ‘navigate the treacherous balance between maintaining a working relationship without succumbing to Mr. Reid’s sexual advances.’
This included not answering his late-night phone calls, rejecting suggestions to have meetings in hotel rooms, and wearing unflattering clothing Reid disliked.
Reid then allegedly became unhappy with Dixon and struck back, acting unprofessionally and embarrassing her in front of other employees.
Dixon also alleges Reid was disinterested in working with artists she brought into the company – musicians that included Kanye West and John Legend.
The second alleged assault is said to have occurred in Reid’s private car.
Reid offered to give Dixon a ride in his vehicle after a work event, and Dixon agreed as Reid’s driver would also be in the vehicle.
‘Shortly into the ride,’ the lawsuit claims, ‘Mr. Reid again, without Ms. Dixon’s permission or consent began to grope and kiss Ms. Dixon, who squirmed and pushed him away as Mr. Reid’s driver stared straight ahead.
‘When Mr. Reid complained and became visibly irritated with her lack of compliance, Ms. Dixon froze. Mr. Reid again digitally penetrated Ms. Dixon’s vulva without her consent.’
Dixon claims her career continued to be impacted by Reid after the alleged assault, with Reid ‘directly’ responding to the rejection by interfering in her work in a variety of ways.
Dixon, now left feeling hopeless about her future at the company and with the music industry as a whole, departed Arista in 2002 and began studying at Harvard Business School.
Dixon claims she never achieved the same career heights afterwards, and claims Reid was still intruding in her career as recently as 2017.
‘When you’re talking about someone’s career being under siege, there is this dance that happens — her trying to make sure that she doesn’t completely alienate him, but she does not want to succumb to being assaulted,’ Kenya K. Davis, who is serving as one of Dixon’s lawyers, told the Times. ‘He was relentless. And in defying him, she paid the price.’
Dixon previously claimed she had been sexually harassed by Reid. Speaking with the New York Times in 2017, she claimed Reid began sexualizing her and making unwelcome advances that often came with conditions.
The former executive would ‘turn cold when she denied his unwanted overtures,’ which reportedly included invitations to late-night catchups at his hotel, she claimed.
’It was a quid pro quo: “I have power, you want access, sleep with me — or I’m going to be really mean to you the next day. And there will be consequences,”‘ she told the Times.
In a statement to The New York Times at the time, Mr. Reid did not address the specific claims but apologized if his words were ‘misinterpreted.’
‘I’m proud of my track record promoting, supporting and uplifting women at every company I’ve ever run. That notwithstanding, if I have ever said anything capable of being misinterpreted, I apologize unreservedly.’
Reid has had a successful career in the music industry, and has helped kickstart careers of the some of the biggest stars, including Pink, Usher and Mariah Carey.