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Antonio ‘L.A.’ Reid, the Grammy Award-winning music executive who shaped the careers of inimitable stars like Usher 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 and published on Nov. 8, 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 and Carlos Santana, says that she was a victim of Reid’s “sexualizing and harassing behavior” on more than one occasion, according to the suit.

In January 2001, Dixon flew to Puerto Rico with Reid for a company-wide retreat on a private plane, but she alleges that no other staff was on board. The music exec claims 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.”

According to the suit, Dixon flew back on a commercial flight after the harrowing ordeal.

Later that year, the former Def Jam A&R claims that she was assaulted by Reid again when she accepted a ride home from a work event in the music exec’s chauffeured car. In the suit, Dixon states that it became clear Reid’s troubling behavior would “stifle” her promising music career.

Dixon alleges that after she rejected Reid’s inappropriate advances, the famous music titan embarrassed 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 said to the New York Times about her explosive suit, “It was very clear that I was being punished because I would not comply.”

Dixon left Arista in 2002 to attend Harvard Business School. The writer and activist tried to return to the music industry but claims in the suit that her efforts were thwarted by Reid “and his enablers.”

“Reid’s persistent campaign of sexual harassment and assault forced me to abandon the work I loved when I was at the top of my game in the music business,” Dixon added in a statement via her lawyers.

Filed Nov. 8 in Manhattan Federal District Court, Dixon’s eyebrow-raising lawsuit falls under the Adults Survivors Act, a New York law that was established in 2022, which 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.

Dixon was present for the bill’s historic signing and played a vital role in helping to pass the critical legislation.

“I believe this moment is far too important to ignore. The Adult Survivors Act will set so many people free, and I believe we must celebrate our wins in order to stay in the fight against injustice,” she captioned an Instagram post in May 2022.

This isn’t the first time that the former A&R has accused an industry power player of sexual assault. In 2017, the famous exec accused Def Jam co-founder Russell Simmons of rape. Dixon alleged that she was raped by the music guru in 1995, according to the suit; however, Simmons is not named a defendant in Dixon’s complaint.

She is still “evaluating her legal options” against the hip-hop mogul, Variety noted. 


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