Pop music executive Antonio "L.A.” Reid has reportedly been accused of harassment.
The former head of Epic Records abruptly exited the Sony Music Entertainment-owned label several days ago without explanation. Reid was the only current Black CEO at any of the three major record companies.
It has now been revealed by a source to Billboard that Reid left the label amid a claim by a female assistant alleging “unlawful harassment of an employee.”
According to sources, Sony has launched an investigation into the claim.
In recent years, he has been responsible for numerous hits records, from artists such as Meghan Trainor, Future, Fifth Harmony, Travi$ Scott and DJ Khaled, who currently tops the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
The three-time Grammy winner first made inroads into the music business as the drummer for the band Deele, who charted the classic “Two Occasions.” He and fellow group member Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds left the group to establish LaFace Records. The record label would become a major success, churning out huge hits and guiding the careers of the likes of Usher, Toni Braxton, TLC and Outkast. Reid also had a hand in successful post-Laface Record releases from Mariah Carey, Kanye West, Rihanna and Justin Bieber.
Reid, a veteran of the music industry, enjoyed success as both an artist and an perennial hitmaker. He has, over the years, helmed such labels as Epic, Universal Music Group’s Island/Def Jam, in addition to LaFace Records. The latter was eventually absorbed into Arista Records, for which he helped to sign the late great Whitney Houston.
In a letter to Sony, the claimant’s attorney detailed alleged harassment his client had faced. These included inappropriate remarks about her appearance and clothing and alleged propositions from Reid, that caused her embarrassment and distress, making it impossible for her to continue working at the label.
According to Billboard, the letter threatened litigation if a settlement wasn’t reached. It is unclear if Sony has confirmed the allegations, but one person from Reid's camp said the letter contained inaccuracies.
Lawyers for both Reid and the claimant have declined to comment.
Reid’s departure follows last month's severing of ties between Sony said prolific hitmaking producer Dr. Luke (Lukasz Gottwald). Gottwald vacated his position as head of Sony subsidiary Kemosabe Records due to his ongoing legal battles with singer-songwriter Kesha, who accused him of rape and sexual manipulation.