On Thursday, Sony Music made the surprise announcement that L.A. Reid would no longer be the chairman and CEO of Epic Records. The unexpected move came with a terse statement that read simply, “L.A. Reid will be leaving the company.” Now, the reasoning behind the abrupt departure has been revealed, as reports have come out that Reid has been accused of sexual harassment by a female assistant.
News of a letter submitted to Sony Music accusing Reid of sexually inappropriate behavior was first reported by The New York Post. In the letter, an unnamed female Epic employee alleges the 60-year-old, married Reid made “inappropriate physical advances” towards her at the company’s December holiday party. The accuser further claims the industry veteran commented on the type of clothes he liked her to wear and once asked her to join him in bed for a hug while on a business trip.
Variety confirmed the existence of the letter through an unidentified source, while also learning of “multiple” harassment claims against Reid.
Reid’s sudden dismissal came as a shock to many in the industry. Prior to Epic, he’d co-founded LaFace Records at Arista with Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds in 1989. That label brought artists like Usher, Outkast, TLC, and Toni Braxton into the spotlight. When LaFace merged with Arista in 2000, he was named president and CEO, eventually signing pop stars like Avril Lavigne, P!nk, and Ciara. Four years later, he became chairman and CEO of The Island Def Jam Music Group, where he revitalized Mariah Carey and Jennifer Lopez’s careers, and worked with everyone from Kanye West to Bon Jovi.
He joined Epic in 2011 and extended his track record of success during his six years as the label’s head. Most recently, he brought the label a No. 1 hit with DJ Khaled’s guest-heavy “I’m the One”. He was also responsible for signing acts like Meghan Trainor, Future, Travis Scott, and Fifth Harmony.
Regardless of how successful Reid has been, Sony and Epic are clearly taking a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to the accusations levied against him. “We are not allowing a culture like that in this company,” an insider told The Post, “no matter how much a person brings to the bottom line.”