Since producing and starring in the first network reality show, Making the Band, Lou Pearlman has fallen hard. The manager of ‘NSync and the Backstreet Boys is currently in jail after having been on the run for close to a year, and stands accused of defrauding investors.
Now, a Vanity Fair profile says that Pearlman craved “the attentions of attractive young male singers. … Some, especially the teenagers, shrugged and giggled when he showed them pornographic movies or jumped naked onto their beds in the morning to wrestle and play.” Those band members included at least one person who wanted to become part of O-Town, the group created on the first season Making the Band that has since broken up, and perhaps some of its members (most of the boy band members aren’t identified by name).
Steve Mooney, who Pearlman recruited as a 20-year-old to work as his assistant, says Pearlman later requested sexual favors in exchange for a spot in O-Town. After being hired, “Pearlman soon invited him to live in his home. All the time Pearlman held out the chance that Mooney could join one of the groups he was planning, called O-Town. According to Mooney, Pearlman told him, ‘By this time next year, you’ll be a millionaire,’” the magazine reports.
The magazine reports that “during the final stages of the O-Town selection process[,] Pearlman was resisting his entreaties to join the group. According to Phoenix Stone, who consulted on the selection process, he and Pearlman were at his home late one night discussing Mooney’s future when Pearlman telephoned Mooney, explaining he needed someone to take out the garbage.”
When he arrived, Mooney asked Pearlman, “What do I have to do to get in this band? I’ll never forget this as long as I live. He leaned back in his chair, in his white terry-cloth robe and white underwear, and spread his legs. And then he said, and these were his exact words, ‘You’re a smart boy. Figure it out.’” He left.
Mooney also says, “There was one guy in every band–one sacrifice–one guy in every band who takes it for Lou. That’s just the way it was.” And Pearlman’s publicist, Jay Marose, says, “You’d see Lou kind of moving in on one of them, and you’d just tell someone, Get that kid away from Lou before it’s too late.”