If L.A Reid‘s shocking exit from Sony‘s Epic Records last week seemed sudden – it’s because it was. And it left many scratching their heads.
Indeed, why would Reid leave an imprint he helped rebuild during long-worked-for high and why would he bounce after only just relocating himself and the label from NYC to LA?
At the time, the only plausible reason seemed connected to changes in Sony’s higher hierarchy.
Well, it turns out there’s a far more chaotic situation at hand.
For, according to The New York Post, Reid’s Epic exit comes after a female staff member filed an “unlawful harassment” suit.
The report explained:
The music industry veteran allegedly made inappropriate physical advances toward an assistant at last December’s company holiday party, among other instances, according to a March 22 letter a lawyer for the woman sent to Julie Swidler, Sony Music’s General Counsel, said a source who provided details from the letter.
The female assistant, whose name is being withholding, also claims Reid, who has led Epic for nearly six years, also asked her to lie down in bed with him and give him a hug while the two were at a hotel while traveling on business, the letter alleges.
Reid, who is married, also made comments about what clothes he liked her to wear and described her as looking “fine,” the letter claims.
It’s not been determined if Sony’s investigation had confirmed any of the letter’s allegations. However, the company’s one-sentence statement about Reid’s departure – issued shortly after the initial news hit – is open to interpretation.
For what it’s worth, one person in Reid’s camp tells Billboard that the accuser’s letter contains inaccuracies.
Details are scarce, hence, the matter must be approached with delicacy. It must also be stressed that, at present, the allegations are just that — allegations.
That said, in the wake of a very public takedown of Dr Luke and the recent woes of Bill O Reilly, maybe the label didn’t want any battle remotely like that on their hands? Who knows.
What does become even more intriguing now is what Reid, age 60, will do as his next move. Both personally and professionally.
Will he release a statement combatting the claims? Keep quiet? Take up appointment elsewhere? There’s talk of him heading to Warner Music Group.
In the interim, it’s being reported that Epic will be shepherded by Reid’s deputy Sylvia Rhone.
During his unprecedented run at labels under both the Sony and Universal umbrellas, Reid has elevated careers of artists like Toni Braxton, Usher, Mariah Carey, and Justin Bieber – to name but a few.
Needless to say, the weeks and months ahead should be interesting. For Reid as well as the acts he leaves behind at Epic such as Fifth Harmony, DJ Khaled, Future, Camila Cabello, J.Lo, and a newly re-signed Mariah Carey.