L.A. Reid Regrets Not “Protecting” Whitney Houston During Her 2002 Diane Sawyer Interview
During a recent visit to the Wendy Williams Show, music mogul L.A. Reid sat down to discuss his new memoir, Sing To Me. Running through a list of artists he’s worked with – such as Mariah Carey, TLC, and Janet Jackson – Reid was also probed by Williams about Whitney Houston. In his book, the former LaFace Records head honcho admitted that he regrets that he did not “protect” Houston during her controversial 2002 interview with Diane Sawyer.
“I was so naive,” Reid said. “I really didn’t realize that there was an issue. I said let’s get Whitney with Diane Sawyer and promote the album.”
During the much talked-about sit down, Houston’s assertion that “crack is whack” became the quote of note. Perceived by the masses as an indicator of the singer’s battle with drugs, footage of the Sawyer interview circulated and became a topic of discussion and criticism. Redid told Williams that he feels like he “failed” Houston by allowing the interview to happen and not screening Sawyer’s questions. He recalled watching the moment unfold.
“She asked her the question about substance abuse and when Whitney said, ‘crack is whack,’ my mouth dropped,” Reid said. “I felt like I really failed her. My job is to protect the talent and try to present them in a way that people will love them. My job is not to drum up controversy or drum up gossip. My job is to present her in the best possible fashion. So I completely failed her that day.”
Reid’s Sing To Me book is on shelves now, and features anecdotes from his storied career. Watch his interview with Wendy Williams below: