Members Of The ‘Menudo’ Boy Band Detail Their Horrific Experience In New Doc, Which Includes Rape, Exposure To Drugs & Preferential Treatment Of Ricky Martin
Unfortunately, there can sometimes be a dark side to fame.
Before Ricky Martin, 50, came on the scene as a solo artist with his smash hit, “Livin’ La Vida Loca,” he was a member of Menudo–one of the biggest Latin groups of all time. Now, in a new documentary, his former band members are detailing the horrific experiences they faced while in the group.
In the four-part docuseries, “Menudo: Forever Young,” Angelo Garcia — who joined Menudo just after he had turned 11 years old— reveals he was raped during his 1988-90 stint with the group. He details the sexual assault — which he said took place in his hotel room after he was given alcohol by an undisclosed man. Garcia explained,
“All I remember was that I, like, passed out. 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.”
In the doc, Angelo Garcia goes on to reveal he was sexually assaulted several times throughout his time in Menudo. He said,
“During my time in Menudo, I was raped a series of times, and that was the way that predators would take advantage of me.”
The documentary featured other members of Menudo–which included 32 different boys during its initial 20-year run. Other members also claimed they endured sexual abuse, as well as bullying, drug scandals and oppressive working conditions. Members say the negligence, exploitation and abuse they suffered occurred while they worked for the boy band’s mastermind, Edgardo Díaz, who is described as
“their manager, producer and father surrogate.”
While Diaz reportedly denied the request for an interview, he has always denied any abuse and wrongdoing in his management of the group.
“Menudo: Forever Young” recounts how Díaz’s idea for the group began in Puerto Rico in 1977. Díaz reportedly adopted a “Fountain of Youth strategy” for the group, where members would be replaced once they turned 16. Parents of the boys — many of them poor — would sign over most of their parental authority to the manager.
According to reports, other members have previously accused Díaz of sexual abuse, including Roy Rosselló in a television appearance that is shown in the documentary. It’s also alleged in the documentary that Díaz was surrounded by unsavory men who would prey on the boys.
After first gaining popularity in Venezuela and going on to cause “Spanish Beatlemania” in the US, Menudo found its most famous member, Ricky Martin, in 1984. Ray Acevedo, who was in Menudo from 1985 to 1988 said Martin was often idolized in the group.
“Ricky, from the beginning, was like the golden kid.”
But Ricky Martin — who is not interviewed in the documentary — didn’t make life so easy for other members, according to Sergio Blass, who was in Menudo from 1986 to 1990. Blass explained,
“To be with Ricky was brutal because he had seniority over me. 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.”
As far as the bullying that occurred, Acevedo recalled being held over a balcony by another member — and hazing of new guys. Without getting proper supervision and even security, the boys were also exposed to drugs, including marijuana and cocaine. Sergio Blass and Gómez got kicked out of Menudo after they were busted for marijuana possession in 1990, while new members kept coming through the revolving door.
Andy Blázquez, who was in the group from 1991 to 1997, recalled in the documentary feeling uncomfortable with feeling sexualized. He explained,
“the extreme sexualization that happened from the very beginning — like overly sexualized jokes that you shouldn’t say in front of children. I remember Edgardo saying, ‘You know the pleasure that you get when you’re pooping? That’s what anal sex feels like.'”
“Menudo: Forever Young” premieres on HBO Max Thursday (Jun. 23).
What are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments below!