A woman who stepped forward to accuse music mogul Russell Simmons of rape has also claimed that she was sexually harassed under another former boss, Antonio ‘L.A.’ Reid.
Drew Dixon told the New York Times she was working as an executive at Arista Records when Reid began sexualizing her and making unwelcome advances that often came with conditions.
The former executive would ‘turn cold when she denied his unwanted overtures,’ which reportedly included invitations to late-night catchups at his hotel, she claimed.
’It was a quid pro quo: “I have power, you want access, sleep with me — or I’m going to be really mean to you the next day. And there will be consequences,”‘ she told the Times.
In the business, Reid was a music legend known for his work with TLC and Mariah Carey.
But even as an executive, Dixon had little clout or autonomy in the business and she was virtually powerless to defend herself against someone like Reid who had the power to hire and fire.
Five years earlier, Dixon was working for Russell Simmons at Def Jam records as an A&R executive. During her interview with the New York Times she claimed Simmons made relentless, aggressive sexual advances towards her when she joined the company in 1992.
Dixon left to join Arista in 1996 under then-chief Clive Davis. Reid replaced Davis in 2000.
In a statement to The New York Times, Mr. Reid did not address the specific claims but apologized if his words were ‘misinterpreted.’
‘I’m proud of my track record promoting, supporting and uplifting women at every company I’ve ever run. That notwithstanding, if I have ever said anything capable of being misinterpreted, I apologize unreservedly.’
Reid left the top job at Epic earlier this year following a sexual harassment claim by a former female assistant, and Sony reached a settlement with the assistant earlier this summer, sources tell Billboard.
In 2002, at the top of her game, Dixon left the music industry for Harvard Business School.
She decided that no matter how many hits she had, ‘I could not have success in this industry unless I slept with somebody — a gatekeeper,’ she said. ‘And the fact that I would be doing it to advance my career, I would hate myself.’
Dixon told the Times how at 24, she had just recently landed her dream job at Def Jam Recordings when she says the sexual harassment by Simmons began.
She says Simmons would regularly expose his erect penis to her and talk about how much she turned him on.
At a restaurant, he allegedly pushed her into a closet and attempted to kiss her, and at one staff meeting he even asked her to come and sit on his lap, she told the Times. But she felt he was too powerful for her to confront about the harassment.
‘Russell was like the king of hip-hop,’ she said.
She said she hoped she could ride out the harassment until she got a bona fide hit when she could make her escape.
‘I didn’t want to cut off my one conduit to having any hope of a career,’ she said.
But things only got worse, she said.
Dixons says he would flash his erect penis at her so often, she created a code with her male co-worker.
‘I was like: “If I ever buzz you, don’t pick up, don’t call me back — just open my door.” That means Russell is in here and he whipped his penis out,’ she said.
In 1995, Dixon’s first major project, creating the soundtrack for a music documentary went platinum. One evening, she was leaving a Manhattan bar, near Simmons’ apartment, when she ran into the executive.
She says he told her: ‘You have the No. 1 record in the country; I’ll order you a car.’
While waiting for the car, she says she accepted his offer to wait inside his apartment. But Dixon said as soon as she entered the apartment with him, she realized her mistake and felt ‘cornered’.
‘The last thing I remember was him pinning me down to kiss me on the bed,’ she said. Dixon explained that while she hadn’t been drinking, and didn’t think she’d been given drugs, she’d suppressed the painful memory and disassociated from the experience.
Four friends of Dixon reported that she had told them about the assault and harassment at that time.
A lawyer for Simmons said that he conceded there had been ‘inappropriate conduct’ with Dixon while she worked at Def Jam, he absolutely denied having sex with her.
Dixon, a rising star in the music industry, quit Def Jam a short while later and joined Arista Records, as an A&R executive. She threatened to sue her firm over unpaid expenses and to sue Simmons for sexual harassment. They company settled before any lawsuit was filed for $30,000.
SOURCE: Daily Mail