The Backstreet Boys, 'NSync and other bands in music mogul Lou Pearlman's empire enjoyed huge worldwide success in the 1990s. Now, a new report says that behind the scenes several of the young, male singers had to put up with their boss' sexual advances, Vanity Fair reports.
"None of these kids will ever admit anything happened," one attorney who has sued Pearlman in a contract dispute tells special correspondent Bryan Burrough. "They're all too ashamed, and if the truth came out it would ruin their careers."
The article details Pearlman's rise to power through his aviation and music ventures followed by his crushing downfall amid lawsuits from former band members that have landed him in a Florida jail awaiting trial on fraud charges. Insiders tell stories of Pearlman showing pornographic films to his young talent, greeting guests at the door wearing only a towel, and inappropriate touching including massages to balance one young man's "aura."
While some deny anything improper ever happened, Burrough talks with former Pearlman proteges and their parents. One former assistant, who wanted desperately to be in one of Pearlman's bands, says that many involved knew of Pearlman's alleged predilections.
"I would absolutely say the guy was a sexual predator," Pearlman's former assistant Steve Mooney says. "All the talent knew what Lou's game was. If they say no, they're lying to you."
More than a dozen insiders tell Burrough they heard stories of Pearlman's behavior while insisting they experienced nothing untoward themselves.
The November issue of Vanity Fair hits newsstands in New York and Los Angeles on Oct. 3 and nationally on Oct. 9.