Antonio “L.A.” Reid, the Grammy Award-winning music executive who influenced the careers of stars like Usher, P!nk, and Mariah Carey, has been accused of sexual assault and harassment by former Arista A&R Vice President Drew Dixon.
According to court documents obtained by the New York Times, Dixon alleges that the music mogul assaulted her twice when she was employed under Arista in the early 2000s. The music producer and activist claims that Reid “retaliated against her” after she rejected his sexual advances.
Dixon, who oversaw the recordings of legendary hits made by stars like Whitney Houston, Method Man, and Carlos Santana, claims that she was the victim of Reid’s “sexualizing and harassing behavior” on more than one occasion, according to the suit filed in Manhattan Federal District Court Nov. 8.
In January 2001, Dixon flew to Puerto Rico with Reid for a company-wide retreat on a private plane, but she alleges that there were no other staff on board. The music exec, who is now a board member of NYU’s Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music, alleges that the industry giant “asked her to sit next to him to go over materials for the presentation, and then he began playing with her hair, kissing her and digitally penetrated her vulva without her consent.”
Later that year, the former Def Jam A&R claims that she was assaulted again by Reid when she accepted a ride home from a work event in the music exec’s chauffeured car. According to the suit, Reid allegedly “groped, kissed and penetrated her without consent,” Reuters noted.
In her complaint, Dixon states that she was at the height of her career, with many industry insiders branding her as the “female Rick Rubin” due to her iconic work in Arista’s A&R division. She was involved with the production of notable hits including Whitney Houston’s “My Love Is Your Love” and Carlos Santana’s “Maria Maria.” In her explosive suit, Dixon says it became clear Reid’s troubling behavior would “stifle” her promising music career.
After she began to reject Reid’s inappropriate advances, the music exec alleges that the LaFace Records co-founder attempted to embarrass her “in front of others” and displayed unprofessionalism.
“Promotional and recording budgets were suddenly reduced dramatically or frozen altogether. Song demos and artist auditions were flatly rejected,” the lawsuit states.
Dixon alleges that Reid’s egregious behavior began shortly after he took over Arista following Clive Davis’ departure in 2000. The eye-brow-raising lawsuit falls under the Adults Survivors Act, a New York law that was established in 2022 that gives victims of assault a one-year window to file a civil lawsuit against their abuser if they were over the age of 18 at the time of the incident. The window closes on Nov. 24.
This isn’t the first time Dixon has accused a prominent music figure of sexual assault.
In 2017, the record exec publicly accused Def Jam co-founder Russell Simmons of rape. In her lawsuit against Reid, Dixon alleges that Simmons raped her in 1995, but he is not named as a defendant in the complaint. Dixon was featured in the 2020 HBO Max documentary On the Record which details sexual misconduct accusations by women against the hip-hop mogul.
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