THE former members of sensational boyband Menudo have shared chilling details of abuse after bandmate Angelo Garcia claimed he was “raped” in a hotel at 11 years old.
Garcia said that he suffered multiple instances of sexual abuse while others claimed they experienced bullying and premature exposure to drugs in a new documentary.
The HBO Max docu-series titled Menudo: Forever Young analyzes the successful boyband that was started by mastermind Edgardo Diaz in 1977 in Puerto Rico.
While the band sold millions of records with its catchy Latin American-inspired music and fresh-faced members, former bandmates are saying the dark environment was no place for children.
Diaz, who was described as the band’s “manager, producer and father surrogate,” tracked down young talent from oftentimes poor families who surrendered a significant amount of parental authority.
Angelo Garcia, who was 11 years old when he joined Menudo in 1988, said that he suffered multiple instances of sexual assault during his brief tenure.
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Garcia said members were often exposed to alcohol and drugs, including one instance where he claimed an unnamed man got him drunk in a hotel room.
“All I remember was that I, like, passed out,” Garcia said in the documentary, according to the New York Post.
“When I woke up, I was naked and I was bleeding, so I knew that I had been penetrated.
“I had, like, these burn marks on my face from the rug … I was very confused, and I didn’t understand.”
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In the documentary, Garcia claimed that this was one of many times he was taken advantage of.
Members were constantly cycled through 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” new members were a part of the culture.
At one point, Acevado claimed that he was held over a balcony by an unnamed member in an act of bullying.
Former member Sergio Blass and another member Rubén Gómez said boys were also exposed to drugs without supervision.
“One time we were in Colombia,” Blass said.
“I’m with Rubén, and we’re getting to the hotel.
“We enter our room. All of a sudden, this random buy 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’s star member, Ricky Martin, joined in 1984.
“Ricky, from the beginning, was like the golden kid,” said former member Ray Acevedo.
While Martin’s star talent brought huge success to Edgardo Diaz, other members claimed it changed how they were treated.
“To be with Ricky was brutal because he had seniority over me,” said Blass who was in Menudo from 1986 to 1990.
“So if someone knocked on the door, I had to open it.
“If the phone rang, I had to pick it up. I was like his housewife.”
Martin did not appear in the documentary which premieres Thursday.
While Blass and Gómez were kicked out of Menudo in 1990 for marijuana possession, the band continued to barrel on until Diaz sold the rights in 1997.
The band officially broke up five years later in 2002.
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Edgardo Diaz did not appear in the documentary and always denied any allegations of abuse.
The US Sun reached out to Ricky Martin’s team, but they did not immediately respond for comment.