L.A. Reid Passed On Signing Kanye West & John Legend

EXCLUSIVE: “On The Record” explores accusations of sexual assault and misconduct allegedly perpetrated by not only Russell Simmons, by music executive L.A. Reid. According to accuser Drew Dixon, Reid decided to pass on Kanye West and John Legend, two of her artists, because she rejected his advances.

By now, you’ve heard of On The Record, the  of sexual assault and sexual misconduct against Russell Simmons. As the months have progressed and more information about the controversial film has been revealed, Simmons has continued to categorically deny the allegations before him. While his name has been paraded in headlines in his attachment to One The Record, there hasn’t been as much recognition placed on another music industry great who stands accused of sexual misconduct as well: L.A. Reid.

L.A. Reid Passed On Signing Kanye West & John Legend
Michael Loccisano / Staff / Getty Images

On The Record‘s main person of interest is Drew Dixon, a former music industry executive who worked with hip hop legends in her heyday. The film follows her career as she worked from the bottom to becoming the Director of A&R at Def Jam, but after she alleged Russell Simmons raped her, she soon left the label. In the film, Dafter feeling destroyed from the alleged attack, then she met Clive Davis and got a job over at Arista Records as the Senior Director of A&R.

She thrived there, even helping to build hits with and Whitney Houston, but during her tenure, Clive stepped down and L.A. Reid took his place. What followed, according to Dixon, were behaviors that she says mirrored much of the sexual harassment she endured at Def Jam. She claims that after she rejected Reid’s advances,  hotel, he became cruel and unwilling to even consider artists that she knew were hitmakers. Two of those talents were allegedly and .

“I auditioned Kanye West, and not only did he pass on Kanye, L.A. Reid dressed me down in front of the entire A&R department,” Drew Dixon recalled in the film.  embarrassed her in front of her colleagues and called her Kanye pitch a “waste of [his] time.” In the end, Dixon asked Reid if she could go out into the hallway and give Ye the bad news.

L.A. Reid Passed On Signing Kanye West & John Legend
Scott Gries / Staff / Getty Images

“I remember, I brought Kanye into my office, he had tears in his eyes,” she said. “I said, let me tell you something. You’re gonna get a deal. You’re gonna win Grammys. You’re gonna look back on this. You’re gonna laugh. Promise you.” The last artist she attempted to get Reid to sign before ultimately quitting the industry altogether was John Legend. Like Kanye, Reid allegedly passed on the EGOT crooner because of what Dixon describes as his spite for her. They reportedly rented a private concert space for Legend to practice in hopes of delivering his best performance pitch to the high-powered music executive, but at the last minute, Dixon says Reid told her he “didn’t want to go, and he told the senior staff not to go. He passed on him.”

Both  On The Record debuts on HBO Max on May 27.

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