Lou Pearlman Scandal Exposed on 20/20 Tonight

Lou Pearlman, the man behind several nineties boy bands, had a darker side to him that had ramifications on several members. 

Boy bands have always been a big part of the music business. The nineties saw several big bands, including Backstreet Boys, NSYNC and O-Town rise to fame, thanks to mogul Lou Pearlman. However, despite the monster success of these bands, there was a darker side to their relationship with Pearlman. The story will air tonight on ABC’s 20/20.

The special interviews boy band members including Lance Bass (NSYNC) Dan Miller (O-Town) and various others. We also hear from singer Sean van der Wilt, who was at one point given a fake gold record from Pearlman. 

Below are some of the excerpts from the special, courtesy of ABC News and 20/20: 

Lance Bass: NSYNC, Producer of Boy Band Con:

Bass, who produced a documentary called Boy Band Con earlier this year about the Pearlman scandal, continued to be outspoken about Pearlman and the cons he pulled during NSYNC’s heyday. 

“I knew he was a scamster,” Bass said. “It was one of the many jaw-dropping things that I discovered in producing ‘The Boy Band Con.” He added that one of the more shocking moments came when the band expected to get major paychecks, only to get about $10,000. JC Chasez, another NSYNC member, had a family member look at their contract, only to find out that there were a lot of issues with the contents. This led to the band eventually finding out about Pearlman’s con and cutting ties with him.

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Sean van der Wilt: Singer

van der Wilt was very outspoken about the abuse he faced at the hands of Pearlman. He not only ended up with a fake gold record, but he also claims that Pearlman made a pass at him. 

“The first couple times he put his arm around — was hugging me — but it was in a way [that it] was just a little too close for comfort,” van der Wilt said. “By the third time, I was sitting on his bed, and he joked and fell on top of me. I was like, ‘Whoa, Lou,’ and he was like, ‘Oh, come on. We’re buddies.’”

According to Van der Wilt, Pearlman allegedly leaned over and whispered something into his ear before grabbing his face and kissing him while they were watching movies in Pearlman’s mansion.

“When I left his house that day, I was completely scared,” van der Wilt said. “Completely scared and thinking, ‘God, maybe I…could have handled it in a different way.’ There’s nothing inside of me that wanted to move forward with any of that. I thought I should have probably handled it differently. … I was scared because my whole life was wrapped up with the company…and the head of all of that, I just called him out on something that he was uncomfortable with.”

Van der Wilt went on to say that Pearlman didn’t speak to him for two months following the confrontation, and he thought his record deal was in jeopardy because of it. During that time, van der Wilt said he struggled with whether he would have to appease Pearlman’s advances in order to achieve his career goals.”

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Check out the 20/20 episode on ABC tonight to see more about the Lou Pearlman scandal.

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