Boy band bombshell. Lance Bass revealed during The Meredith Vieira Show on Wednesday, Oct. 7, that he was inappropriately touched when his career was just taking off two decades ago. His admission came while the panel was discussing Ashley Judd’s recent claims that she was once sexually harassed by a Hollywood mogul.
“This also happens to men, too. It’s a two-way street,” Bass, 36, said on the show Wednesday. “It had happened to me.”
The Dirty Pop radio host said it occurred when he was around 16 or 17 years old. He didn’t name the other victims, but he did say he talked about it with “the guys,” which may refer to his ‘N Sync bandmates. (The group was created in 1995 and called it quits in 2002.)
“When we started there was someone that we worked with that was inappropriately touching us. I was even aware then, at 16, that this guy was a pedophile and he was touching me oddly,” Bass continued. “I didn’t feel victimized at the time…”
Bass said that he never told anyone outside the group, but that “the guys would talk about it” amongst themselves. “We would kind of joke about it but it’s not a joking thing, but as a kid, it was just odd,” he explained. “I am glad that we were aware of it and we didn’t feel victimized at the time.”
Rumors of sexual misconduct surrounding ‘N Sync and the Backstreet Boys have been around for years. In 2007, Vanity Fair published a story titled “Mad About the Boys,” detailing molestation allegations against the band’s former manager Lou Pearlman.
Pearlman has denied the allegations, and is currently behind bars for embezzling millions of dollars from investors. “Nobody who I’ve made a success has ever accused me of anything negative like that,” Pearlman told the Hollywood Reporter in January 2014, while in prison. “The Vanity Fair piece interviewed only people that had a grudge.”
At the time, Bass also said that Pearlman never crossed the line. “He’d always grab our arms and feel our muscles and go: ‘Hey boys, you workin’ out? Yeahhhh!'” he told THR.
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