Menudo ‘Forever Young’ doc details boy band’s abuse claims

Earlier than Ricky Martin was “Livin’ La Vida Loca,” members of his former boy-band Menudo — one of many greatest Latin teams of all time — have been dwelling a nightmare.

In a brand new documentary, Angelo Garcia — who joined Menudo after he had simply turned 11 — mentioned he was raped throughout his 1988-90 stint with the quintet. He particulars the sexual assault — which he mentioned came about in his lodge room after he was given alcohol by an undisclosed man — in “Menudo: Perpetually Younger,” a four-part docuseries that premieres on HBO Max Thursday.  

“All I keep in mind was that I, like, handed out. Once I awoke, I used to be bare and I used to be bleeding, so I knew that I had been penetrated,” Garcia mentioned within the documentary. “I had, like, these burn marks on my face from the rug … I used to be very confused and I didn’t perceive.”

That wasn’t the one time Garcia mentioned he was molested throughout his tenure with the group. “Throughout my time in Menudo, I used to be raped a collection of occasions, and that was the best way that predators would reap the benefits of me,” he mentioned within the documentary.

Menudo at the 26th annual Grammy Awards in 1984.
Menudo on the twenty sixth annual Grammy Awards in 1984.
Ron Galella Assortment through Getty
The boy band Menudo In San Juan, Puerto Rico in the 1980s. Inset, Angelo Garcia.
Menudo in San Juan, Puerto Rico within the Nineteen Eighties. Inset, Angelo Garcia.

Different members of Menudo — which featured 32 completely different boys throughout its preliminary, 20-year run — additionally claimed they endured sexual abuse, in addition to bullying, drug scandals and oppressive working circumstances in “Perpetually Younger.” Such negligence and exploitation, they mentioned, came about whereas they labored for the boy band’s mastermind, Edgardo Díaz, who’s described as “their supervisor, producer and father surrogate.” (Díaz, who didn’t reply to requests for an interview or touch upon the allegations within the documentary, has at all times denied any abuse and any wrongdoing in his administration of the group.)

“We have been pawns of his enterprise,” mentioned Ray Acevedo, who was in Menudo from 1985 to 1988.

“Perpetually Younger” recounts how Díaz’s brainchild, Menudo, was born in Puerto Rico in 1977. Díaz adopted a “Fountain of Youth technique” for the group, the place members would get replaced as soon as they turned 16. Dad and mom of the boys — lots of them poor — would signal over a lot of their parental authority to the supervisor.

After first exploding in Venezuela and occurring to trigger “Spanish Beatlemania” within the US, Menudo discovered its most well-known member, Martin, in 1984. “Ricky, from the start, was just like the golden child,” says Acevedo.

However Martin — who isn’t interviewed within the documentary — didn’t make life really easy for different members, in keeping with Sergio Blass, who was in Menudo from 1986 to 1990.

“To be with Ricky was brutal as a result of he had seniority over me,” Blass mentioned. “So if somebody knocked on the door, I needed to open it. If the telephone rang, I needed to choose it up. I used to be like his housewife.” (Representatives for Martin didn’t reply to The Put up’s request for remark.)

Certainly, there was loads of bullying in Menudo — Acevedo even recalled being held over a balcony by one other member — and hazing of latest guys. With out getting correct supervision and even safety, the boys have been additionally uncovered to medication, together with marijuana and cocaine.

“One time we have been in Colombia,” recalled Blass within the documentary. “I’m with [fellow Menudo member] Rubén [Gómez], and we’re attending to the lodge. We enter our room. Impulsively, this random man is available in … And he pulls out what should have been a couple of kilo of cocaine … So we freaked out, as a result of we didn’t know this particular person … However the man was truly one of many producers and promoters.”

Blass and Gómez acquired kicked out of Menudo after they have been busted for marijuana possession in 1990. However new members stored coming by way of the revolving door.

Andy Blázquez, who was within the group from 1991 to 1997, recalled within the documentary feeling uncomfortable with the “excessive sexualization that occurred from the very starting — like overly sexualized jokes that you simply shouldn’t say in entrance of youngsters. I keep in mind Edgardo saying, ‘You already know the pleasure that you simply get while you’re pooping? That’s what anal intercourse appears like.’ ”

Menudo in Puerto Rico in 1987.
Menudo, with its most well-known member Ricky Martin (left), in Puerto Rico in 1987.
New York Put up

Different members have beforehand accused Díaz of sexual abuse, together with Roy Rosselló in a tv look that’s proven within the documentary. It’s additionally alleged within the documentary that Díaz was surrounded by unsavory males who would prey on the boys.

However the Menudo heartthrobs have been additionally pounced on by an limitless parade of younger groupies. 

“They needed to be escorted out of my room as a result of there was one other one ready, and the primary one didn’t wish to depart,” mentioned Blass. “As an adolescent, I believed, ‘Wow, that is so cool.’ ”

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