Former members of the sensational boy band Menudo have shared chilling details of abuse after bandmate Angelo Garcia claimed he was “raped” in a hotel when he was 11 years old.
Garcia said she suffered multiple cases of sexual abuse, while others claimed to have experienced harassment and premature drug exposure in a new documentary.
The HBO Max documentary series Menudo: Forever Young looks at the successful boy band started by mastermind Edgardo Díaz in 1977 in Puerto Rico.
While the band has sold millions of records with its catchy Latin American-inspired music and fresh-faced members, former bandmates say the dark environment is no place for kids.
Diaz, who was described as the band’s “manager, producer and surrogate father,” located young talent from often poor families who handed over a significant amount of parental authority.
Ángelo García, who was 11 years old when he joined Menudo in 1988, said he suffered multiple cases of sexual assault during his brief tenure.
Garcia said members were often exposed to alcohol and drugs, including one case where he claimed an unidentified man got him drunk in a hotel room.
“All I remember is that I passed out,” Garcia said in the documentary, according to the New York Post.
“When I woke up I was naked and bleeding so I knew I had been penetrated.
“He had, like, these burn marks on the face of the rug… He was very confused and didn’t understand.”
In the documentary, Garcia claimed that this was one of many times he was taken advantage of.
Members constantly passed by the group due to Diaz’s “Fountain of Youth strategy”, which usually meant that once a boy reached 16, he was kicked out of the group.
Ray Acevado, a former member, said that bullying and “hazing” of new members was part of the culture.
At one point, Acevado claimed that an unidentified member held him over a balcony in an act of intimidation.
Former member Sergio Blass and another member, Rubén Gómez, said the children were also exposed to drugs without supervision.
“We were in Colombia once,” Blass said.
“I am with Rubén, and we are arriving at the hotel.
“We went into our room. All of a sudden, this random purchase comes in, and he pulls out what must have been about a kilo of cocaine.
“So we freaked out because we didn’t know this person, but the guy was actually one of the producers and promoters.”
Menudo star member Ricky Martin joined in 1984.
“Ricky, from the beginning, was like the golden boy,” said former member Ray Acevedo.
While Martin’s stellar talent brought great success to Edgardo Diaz, other members claimed that he changed the way they were treated.
“Being with Ricky was brutal because he had seniority over me,” said Blass, who was with Menudo from 1986 to 1990.
“So if someone knocked on the door, I had to open it.
“If the phone rang, I had to answer it. I was like his housewife.”
Martin did not appear in the documentary that opens Thursday.
Although Blass and Gómez were kicked out of Menudo in 1990 for marijuana possession, the band continued until Diaz sold the rights in 1997.
The band officially broke up five years later, in 2002.
Edgardo Díaz did not appear in the documentary and always denied any claim of abuse.
The US Sun contacted Ricky Martin’s team, but they did not immediately respond for comment.