Many are remembering record producer Lou Pearlman, who, as reported by the Inquisitr, died in a Florida prison at the age of 62 on Sunday. Sadly, there are two ways to remember Lou, and one of those ways allegedly brought unhappiness and pain to many innocent lives.
The first stems from his connection to the wave of boy bands, such as the Backstreet Boys, *NSYNC, and O-Town, whom he personally brought together, which allowed him to become a pop music force in the late 90s and early 2000s.
The second is Pearlman’s 2007 arrest for conducting a 20-year-long Ponzi scheme that began with the creation of a non-existing airline and travel service, Trans Continental, that ultimately led to the funding of his record label, Trans Continental Records.
Adding to the second way to look at Pearlman’s life, he was also an alleged child molester, a notation that seems to be glazed over or mostly ignored by the media in the wake of his death despite a mass of evidence in both written and spoken form from both his former artists and a 2007 Vanity Fair expose.
In that piece, entitled “Mad About the Boys,” several people spoke out about the man who asked his young charges to refer to him as “Big Poppa,” and they described him as someone who was anything but fatherly. Although whispers regarding Pearlman’s closeness to those young boys were always rampant throughout the industry, the first roar was said to have come around 1998 when Nick Carter of Backstreet Boys fame had some kind of “inappropriate” interaction with Lou.
“For a while, Nick loved going over to Lou’s house,” said Denise McLean, the mother of fellow BSB member, A.J. McLean. “[Then] all of a sudden, it appeared there was a flip at some point. We heard from [Nick’s family] that there was some kind of inappropriate behavior. It was just odd.”
As for what exactly took place, McLean couldn’t say, but Nick’s mother, Jane, albeit careful with her wording, didn’t leave any room for error regarding what transpired between her oldest son and Pearlman (it should also be noted that for a time in the mid-2000’s, Lou also managed Aaron Carter, Nick’s youngest sibling).
“I tried to warn everyone,” Jane expressed. “I tried to warn all the mothers. I tried to expose him for what he was years ago, because the financial [scandal] is the least of his injustices.”
One of the few to know of Pearlman’s supposed sexual proclivities first-hand was Rich Cronin, the lead singer/songwriter of LFO (“Summer Girls“) who, sadly, lost his life to leukemia back in 2010, according to MTV. In the Vanity Fair article, Cronin recalled how Pearlman would perform a trust exercise with his young male singers that was meant to realign their “aura” through, along with other things, touching their bare abs.
“I definitely heard that aura bulls**t. It took everything in me not to laugh. He definitely came at people. He came at me. In my situation, I avoided him like the plague. If I went to his house, I went with somebody, because I knew every time I was over there by myself, it always led to some weird situation. Like, he’d call late at night to come over and talk about a tour, and you’d get there and he’d be sitting there in boxers.”
Cronin would dive even further into Pearlman’s disparaging acts during a Howard Stern interview in 2009. During his conversation with the shock jock, he admitted that his dealings with “Big Poppa” ultimately led him to seek therapy to move past those experiences. Others, however, were mostly fine with just being financially compensated by Lou.
“Some other dudes went for [his advances],” Rich stated, as also noted by MTV. “And if you did, he took care of you. He’d buy ’em cars. [One guy in particular] is now very famous because of [being molested by Lou].”
Even with Pearlman no longer being a threat to anyone after his arrest in 2007, when he was captured in Germany for the Ponzi charges, most of his alleged sexual molestation victims have yet to speak out. Nonetheless, there have been several comments from former Trans Continental recording artists who don’t seem sad about his death.
For example, Aaron Carter recently tweeted that karma was real in relation to Pearlman’s passing, which is not exactly something you’d say about a person who just died, even if he swindled money from you.
#LouPearlman my old manager died in prison... Rip Lou not the best business guy really at all but he did discover me karma is real— KiD CaRTer (@aaroncarter) August 21, 2016
Singer Justin Timberlake, arguably the most famous performer out of all the boy band members that Pearlman handled, was a bit more pensive in his Twitter response to the news of Lou’s death, but he was still incredibly minimal with his respects.
I hope he found some peace. God bless and RIP, Lou Pearlman.— Justin Timberlake (@jtimberlake) August 21, 2016
As for what that all means, no one can say for sure, but the closing “Mad About the Boys” comment from a gardener who worked next door to Lou Pearlman’s mansion brings forth an eerie feeling of what most will ultimately remember him for first, foremost, and forevermore.
“If you have a little son,” the gardener relayed, “don’t let him go to that house. Bad things happen there.”
[Photo by John Raoux/AP Images]