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Mad About the Boys
October 5, 2007 1:49 PM   Subscribe

Mad About the Boys "Until he fled the country in January, accused of embezzling more than $300 million, Lou Pearlman was famous as the impresario behind the Backstreet Boys and 'NSync. Turns out his investors weren't the only victims, colleagues reveal: Pearlman's passion for boy bands was also a passion for boys."
posted by empath (60 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
Wow, the eight-grade boys were right: He is gay!
posted by klangklangston at 1:52 PM on October 5, 2007


fascinating. A real tale of media sleaze.
posted by parmanparman at 1:57 PM on October 5, 2007


Pearlman illo by Dan Clowes.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 1:57 PM on October 5, 2007


Lou Pearlman previously.
posted by Dr-Baa at 1:58 PM on October 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


Yeah, it was always obvious that this guy sucked more than the bands he produced.
posted by GavinR at 2:00 PM on October 5, 2007


Wasn't the guy who started the boy scouts also a pedophile?
posted by telstar at 2:00 PM on October 5, 2007


Maybe he's just bi-bi-bi curious.
posted by Curry at 2:01 PM on October 5, 2007 [26 favorites]


Well there's a shocker.
posted by delmoi at 2:01 PM on October 5, 2007


Wasn’t he on that show where they invented O-Town wholesale? I’m embarrassed to know that, but he did seem like boy bands appealed to him more than just because of the gobs of money they made.
posted by tepidmonkey at 2:02 PM on October 5, 2007


Yeah, it was always obvious that this guy sucked more than the bands he produced.

fixed &c.
posted by dersins at 2:02 PM on October 5, 2007


Maybe “gobs” was not the right word to use.
posted by tepidmonkey at 2:04 PM on October 5, 2007


I just said this in another thread:

If only this were shocking.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 2:16 PM on October 5, 2007


Wouldn't it be crazy if the most obvious thing in the world turned out to be unbelievably true???

...NO!

But it would nevertheless be a rich source of humor!
posted by kittens for breakfast at 2:22 PM on October 5, 2007 [2 favorites]


I've noticed that pre-teen girls and chickenhawks have very similar taste.
posted by Taargus Taargus at 2:28 PM on October 5, 2007 [4 favorites]


Boys that look like girls?
posted by empath at 2:31 PM on October 5, 2007


People should learn to trust their first impressions more, they're remarkably accurate most of the time.
posted by tommasz at 2:31 PM on October 5, 2007


I can forgive him for being a thief. I might even be able to find it in my heart to forgive him for being a pedophile. But he's responsible for The Backstreet Boys and 'NSync?

It's time to find a hanging rope, boys.
posted by Astro Zombie at 2:46 PM on October 5, 2007 [2 favorites]


The banner ads I'm getting for that article are all for Vaseline.
posted by hermitosis at 3:10 PM on October 5, 2007 [3 favorites]


Freakin hilarious Curry.
posted by batou_ at 3:16 PM on October 5, 2007


Jabba the Hut? I'd hit that.

with a light sabre
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:23 PM on October 5, 2007


I've noticed that pre-teen girls and chickenhawks have very similar taste.

And it has always been that way.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 3:46 PM on October 5, 2007


about 5 years ago, I was working for a friend who had been contracted out to work on a video for one of his new boy bands, I forget their name now. About three of four times, perlman came out to check on our progress, and each time he got out of his limo, there was always a young guy with him ( there were a couple of different ones). One of these times, this "Boy Toy" came up into the studio with Lou and the band. He kinda stayed in the back and keep quiet, and then all of a sudden, he said something about the video. It was one of those classic moments when everyone ( even Lou) turned very slowly and just looked at him, and noone said a word, and then we all just turned back and moved on. It was pretty funny.

I will always associate Lou perlman and Johnny cash, since Cash died the first day of that project, and we listened to nothing but cash for two weeks.
posted by brent_h at 3:55 PM on October 5, 2007


But he's responsible for The Backstreet Boys and 'NSync?

Hangin's too good for him

Burnin's too good for him.

He should be chopped into little bitty pieces, and buried alive!
posted by quin at 4:10 PM on October 5, 2007


"I will always associate Lou Perlman and Johnny Cash..."

because Perlman once shot a wad in Reno, Justin watched and cried.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 4:23 PM on October 5, 2007 [14 favorites]


Next, it turns out the guy behind the "Jingle Bells" singing dogs was more sort of in front of them.
posted by Wolfdog at 4:30 PM on October 5, 2007


"I will always associate Lou Perlman and Johnny Cash..."

because Perlman once shot a wad in Reno, Justin watched and cried.


Both of you...

SHUT YOUR FILTHY PIE HOLES, YOU!

...is nothing sacred.
posted by tkchrist at 4:34 PM on October 5, 2007


I find the assertion that admission of Lou's advances upon them, would destory their careers, odd. Is the idea that their fans would hate them for being abused, or that Lou has some sort of power to convince a music label to walk away from a successful act?
posted by nomisxid at 4:50 PM on October 5, 2007


No ego-filled rock star wants to admit that his stardom came from providing fellatio to his Svengali.

That puts you on about the same social status as "prison bitch," cappiche?
posted by zoogleplex at 5:00 PM on October 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


No ego-filled rock star wants to admit that his stardom came from providing fellatio to his Svengali.

I think you got things backwards there, about who was providing what to whom.
posted by me & my monkey at 5:08 PM on October 5, 2007


Doesn't matter which way the "favor" goes, nor how musically talented you actually are. You're still the prison bitch if that's how you got famous.

Worse, you were the willing prison bitch. The article said that one of the unnamed band members said that each band had one kid who "took it" from Pearlman, one "sacrifice."

Nobody wants to admit they utterly compromised themselves to get what they wanted, and the ego attached to famous rock stars compounds that exponentially.

As long as there's no proof, they can deny, deny, deny.
posted by zoogleplex at 5:14 PM on October 5, 2007


I just can't seem to summon the outrage. Call again tomorrow.
posted by psmealey at 5:34 PM on October 5, 2007


Well, yeah. But the burning question remains: is he a republican?
posted by rockhopper at 5:43 PM on October 5, 2007


Well, yeah. But the burning question remains: is he a republican?

...and a "holier-than-thou" Christian?
posted by ericb at 5:59 PM on October 5, 2007


Highlights from the Vanity Fair article:
“‘I would absolutely say the guy was a sexual predator,’ Steve Mooney, an aspiring singer and former assistant to Pearlman insists: ‘More than once, he says, he encountered young male singers slipping out of those doors late at night, tucking in their shirts, a sheepish look on their faces. ‘There was one guy in every band — one sacrifice — one guy in every band who takes it for Lou,’ says Mooney, echoing a sentiment I heard from several people. ‘That’s just the way it was.’’

Around 1997-1998, allegations of sexual abuse emerged, one of which involved former Backstreet Boy Nick Carter. ‘My son did say something about the fact that Nick had been uncomfortable staying [at Pearlman’s house],’ Denise McLean, mother to fellow Backstreet Boy A.J. recalled. ‘For a while Nick loved going over to Lou’s house. All of a sudden it appeared there was a flip at some point.’ ‘Certain things happened,’ Carter’s mother told Vanity Fair, ‘and it almost destroyed our family. I tried to warn everyone. I tried to warn all the mothers.’

Pearlman used the notion of realigning the boys’ auras as an excuse to touch them. Rich Cronin, lead singer of the Pearlman band LFO (and current member of Sureshot) remembers, ‘I definitely heard that aura bullshit. It took everything in me not to laugh. He was like, ‘I know some mystical fricking ancient massage technique that if I massage you and we bond in a certain way, through these special massages, it will strengthen your aura to the point you are irresistible to people.'”*
posted by ericb at 6:05 PM on October 5, 2007


The VF author needs to burn in Pun Hell for this bit:

Others, it appears, didn't get off so easily. These were the young singers seen emerging from his bedroom late at night, buttoning their pants, sheepish looks on their faces.
posted by CKmtl at 6:13 PM on October 5, 2007


I feel so sorry for those boys. Imagine having your dreams dangled in front of you, and the cost is having to have sex with someone who is not only physically repulsive, but is also most likely not even your preferred gender. It's horrifying.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 6:17 PM on October 5, 2007 [3 favorites]


It was one of those classic moments when everyone ( even Lou) turned very slowly and just looked at him, and noone said a word, and then we all just turned back and moved on. It was pretty funny.

Ha, Lou Pearlman's sex slave thought he was allowed to speak!
posted by Citizen Premier at 6:23 PM on October 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


Imagine having your dreams dangled in front of you

you go to Pun Purgatory. :)
posted by jonmc at 6:24 PM on October 5, 2007


Doesn't matter which way the "favor" goes

Well, yeah, it does, if you're going to make a "prison bitch" analogy.
posted by me & my monkey at 6:42 PM on October 5, 2007


me & my monkey, I don't think it matters. A coerced sex at is a coerced sex act--it doesn't really matter what is being stuck where.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 6:45 PM on October 5, 2007 [2 favorites]


A coerced sex at is a coerced sex act--it doesn't really matter what is being stuck where.

The level of coercion may certainly vary between the two, though. I'm not saying that what this bozo did wasn't wrong - it certainly was wrong - but it doesn't sound like all that much coercion was necessary.
posted by me & my monkey at 7:27 PM on October 5, 2007


but it doesn't sound like all that much coercion was necessary.

You go up to a series of otherwise straight guys, offer them a blowjob, and see how much uncoerced acceptance you get.

This guy might not have been begging or threatening or physically forcing them into submission, but there's the tacit threat of "If you don't play along, say goodbye to your music career". It's not like boyband members aren't completely interchangeable or replaceable.
posted by CKmtl at 7:35 PM on October 5, 2007


‘Certain things happened,’ Carter’s mother told Vanity Fair, ‘and it almost destroyed our family. I tried to warn everyone. I tried to warn all the mothers.’

And then after she was done warning all those other mothers, she turned her other, younger son (Aaron Carter) over to the same man supposedly abusing the older one.

This man is a bastard, but some of these parents helped him by simply looking the other way.
posted by FunkyHelix at 7:58 PM on October 5, 2007 [2 favorites]


Is the idea that their fans would hate them for being abused, or that Lou has some sort of power to convince a music label to walk away from a successful act?

I think it's the fear that Moms will stop buying your album for their 12-year-old daughters if there's evidence you might not exactly be the wholesome teenybopper everyone thinks you are.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 8:04 PM on October 5, 2007


You go up to a series of otherwise straight guys, offer them a blowjob, and see how much uncoerced acceptance you get.

I've gotten plenty, actually! I don't do coercion.
posted by me & my monkey at 8:38 PM on October 5, 2007


I am not denying that these kids were coerced but calling them straight is a sign that your gaydar is about as well-developed as the preteen girls that followed these acts. Plus given that with a certain amount of smoke there is certainly a fire, all the gossip about these band members preferences would lead one to an educated guess that 3 out of 5 in each band preferred the company of boys themselves.
posted by Ber at 8:54 PM on October 5, 2007


wholesome teenybopper

Bopping teens is only wholesome at late-night GOP mixers in Florida and Iowa.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:08 PM on October 5, 2007


I dunno, Ber--with some of these kids (say, Aaron Carter, who signed a record deal when he was ten), I'm wonder if they're even capable of informed consent.
posted by box at 9:14 PM on October 5, 2007


Bopping teens is only wholesome at late-night GOP mixers in Florida and Iowa.

Didn't that meme get started with a Stephen Glass fabricated story?
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 9:45 PM on October 5, 2007


I not saying they consented, far from it. The turd took advantage of underage kids from a position of power - you can't get much lower than that. Lou is still a piece of scum that deserves a cattle-prod up the ass.

But calling boy-band members straight is pretty humorous. But my guess is they would have preferred someone their own age, not a balding slob twice their age.
posted by Ber at 10:21 PM on October 5, 2007


WTF was with all these people who knew what was going on and did nothing about it? And why are they not being prosecuted as accessories?
posted by five fresh fish at 10:44 PM on October 5, 2007


Didn't that meme get started with a Stephen Glass fabricated story?

Maf54 (7:37:27 PM): how my favorite young stud doing
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:14 PM on October 5, 2007


Also, there's Johnny Kitagawa, who says that boys are just easier to work with.
posted by betweenthebars at 2:26 AM on October 6, 2007


Every so often, I learn of something that restores my faith in humanity. While it's the obverse side of this molestation tale(s), I cannot help but thank the gods that there wasn't a market for the boy band craze, or at least the fucking ridiculous number of them created by this wretch.

That he hightailed it out of Dodge before getting nabbed makes it more juicy. Maybe these unfortunate performers are what Alberto Gonzales was speaking of when he kept insisting he was trying to protect the children? The one that got away.
posted by Busithoth at 7:49 AM on October 6, 2007


"Honestly, I don't think Lou ever thought we would become stars," says Rich Cronin, lead singer of the Pearlman boy band Lyte Funky Ones (LFO). "I just think he wanted cute guys around him; this was all an excuse. And then lightning crazily struck and an empire was created. It was all dumb luck.
The Producers and "Springtime for Hitler," anyone?
posted by Peach at 8:24 AM on October 6, 2007


I like N'Sync, Backstreet Boys and New Kids on the Block. Fun, bouncy pop music with some major sugar on top, it's true, and with N'Sync also some great collaborative pop dancing.

Bye Bye Bye, from their No Strings Attached album was the N'Sync song rejoicing in cutting ties with their evil manager, Pearlman.

What a pig of a pedophile Pearlman is. ugh.

one guy in every band who takes it for Lou

Wonder if it were Lance Bass in N'Sync?

Justin Timberlake told Rolling Stone, “I was being monetarily raped by a Svengali”. Maybe not only monetarily.

It wasn't the Vanity Fair journalist, it was Steve Mooney who said, “I would absolutely say the guy was a sexual predator,” Steve Mooney, an aspiring singer and former assistant to Pearlman insists: “More than once, he says, he encountered young male singers slipping out of those doors late at night, tucking in their shirts, a sheepish look on their faces.

"Pearlman used the notion of realigning the boys’ auras as an excuse to touch them." Interesting how malignant narcissists may pseudo-spiritual malarcky as a schtick. It may trigger the victim's desire not to be polite, not seem rude in rejecting somebody's different belief system and set the victim up in being unsuspectingly compliant.

Glad the truth about this monster is known. I think for those who were victimized by a pedophile that can be profoundly healing. Just because these young boys were pedestalized/celebretized doesn't mean they aren't human and weren't terribly damaged by being conned, abused and betrayed.
posted by nickyskye at 9:41 AM on October 6, 2007


*may use pseudo-spiritual malarcky as a schtick

*It may trigger the victim's desire to be polite, not seem rude

yikes, must have another cup of coffee.
posted by nickyskye at 10:13 AM on October 6, 2007


I've noticed that pre-teen girls and chickenhawks have very similar taste.

they both taste just like chicken.
posted by quonsar at 10:33 AM on October 6, 2007 [2 favorites]


What I find interesting is that the Backstreet Boys was also the name of the first backup band the punk rocker/transsexual Wayne County had before he started Wayne County & The Electric Chairs (not to mention getting a sex change to transform himself into Jayne County). I know the Vanity Fair article says that the Backstreet Boys were named after the Orlando Backstreet flea market, but I can't help but wonder if Lou Pearlman liked the name because it reminded him of "rough trade"...but not too rough...

And don't forget that O-Town's first big single was "Liquid Dreams"... Sometimes, it's just staring at you in the face.
posted by jonp72 at 12:52 PM on October 6, 2007


wayne county was from wayne county, too.
posted by quonsar at 1:45 PM on October 6, 2007


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