After six years as the chairman of Epic Records, Antonio Marquis “L.A.” Reid announced that he will be leaving the label following various claims of sexual harassment. During his six-year run, Reid signed such hit acts as Meghan Trainor, Future, Travis Scott, Fifth Harmony, and DJ Khaled, the latter of whom currently has the No. 1 song in the U.S. with “I’m the One.” He also brought Mariah Carey back into the Sony fold, after having signed the singer at his previous position as chief executive of Island Def Jam.
Following Sony Music’s announcement that Epic Records chairman L.A. Reid would vacate the position, several publications are reporting that Reid was accused of harassment by a female assistant.
The employee’s claim alleged “unlawful harassment of an employee,” which prompted a company investigation into Reid
In a letter to Sony, the claimant’s attorney detailed alleged harassment his client had faced on a daily basis, which included alleged inappropriate remarks about her appearance and clothing and alleged propositions that caused her embarrassment and distress, making it impossible for her to continue working at the label.
The letter — the contents of which were relayed to Billboard — threatened litigation if a settlement wasn’t reached. It wasn’t clear if Sony’s investigation had confirmed any of the letter’s allegations, and one person in Reid’s camp said the letter contained inaccuracies.
Alongside Babyface, Reid’s LaFace Records was instrumental in the success of several Atlanta-based acts in Atlanta, including Outkast, Goodie Mob, TLC and Usher.
It is unclear what Reid’s next move will be, though he is an executive producer on the scripted drama “Cotton Club.” Reps for the label and for Sony Music would not comment.
A revered figure in the music industry, Reid got his start as a drummer, playing with R&B band The Deele, formed in his native Cincinnati, during the early ’80s. He later headed to Atlanta, where, in 1989, Reid and Deele bandmate Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds formed LaFace Records, a joint venture with Arista Records, and launched the careers of Usher, TLC, and Pink. In 2000, Arista absorbed LaFace and Reid became its new CEO.
Under his watch, Outkast’s 2004 album Speakerboxxx/The Love Below was a multiplatinum smash, winning a Grammy for Album of the year and eventually selling more than 10 million copies in the U.S.