A shocking new documentary, available to watch today, reveals the brutal inner story of the boy band that launched Ricky Martin’s music career.
Before Ricky Martin became “Livin’ La Vida Loca”, the members of his former boy band Menudo – one of the biggest Latin American bands of all time – lived in a nightmare.
In a new documentary, Angelo Garcia, who joined Menudo right after he turned 11, revealed he was raped during his time with the quintet in 1988-90.
He details the sexual assault he says took place in his hotel room after an unidentified man gave him alcohol, in Menudo: Forever youngfour-episode documentary series to premiere Binge Today.
“All I remember is that I passed out. When I woke up I was naked and bleeding, so I knew I had been penetrated,” Garcia said in the documentary. “I had such burns on my face from the carpet… I was very embarrassed and did not understand anything.”
This wasn’t the only time Garcia said he was molested during his time with the group. “During my stay in Menudo, I was raped several times, and in this way the predators used me,” he said in the documentary.
Other members of Menudo, which featured 32 different boys over its first 20 years, also claimed they were sexually abused as well as bullied, drug scandals and oppressive working conditions in Forever young.
According to them, such negligence and exploitation took place when they worked for the mastermind of the boy band, Edgardo Diaz, who is called “their manager, producer and father-in-law”. (Diaz, who did not respond to interview requests or comment on the allegations in the documentary, has always denied any abuse and any irregularities in the band’s management.)
“We were pawns in his business,” said Ray Acevedo, who was at Menudo from 1985 to 1988.
Forever young tells how Diaz’s brainchild, Menudo, was born in Puerto Rico in 1977. Diaz adopted the “Fountain of Youth Strategy” for the group, in which members were replaced when they were 16 years old. The boys’ parents, many of whom were poor, signed most of their parental authority to the manager.
After the first explosion in Venezuela and the continuation of “Spanish Beatlemania” in the US, Menudo found its most famous member, Martin, in 1984. “Ricky was like a golden child from the very beginning,” says Acevedo.
But Martin, who is not interviewed in the documentary, did not make life easier for the other members, according to Sergio Blass, who was at Menudo from 1986 to 1990.
“Being with Ricky was cruel because he had an advantage over me,” Blass said. “So if someone knocked on the door, I had to open it. If the phone rang, I had to pick up the phone. I was like his housewife.” (Martin’s representatives did not respond to Mailrequest for comment.)
Indeed, there was a lot of bullying in Menudo – Acevedo even recalled being held over a balcony by another member – and bullying of the new guys. Without proper supervision and even protection, boys were also exposed to drugs, including marijuana and cocaine.
“We were in Colombia once,” Blass recalled in the documentary. “I’m with [fellow Menudo member] Ruben [Gómez]and we drive up to the hotel. We enter our room. All of a sudden this random guy walks in… And pulls out what must have been a kilo of cocaine… So we freaked out because we didn’t know this person… But actually this guy was one of the producers and promoters. “.
Blass and Gomez got kicked off the menu after they were arrested for marijuana possession in 1990. But new members kept coming through the revolving door.
Andy Blasquez, who was in the band from 1991 to 1997, recalled in the documentary that he felt uncomfortable with the “extreme sexualization that was going on right from the start – like overly sexualized jokes that shouldn’t be said in front of children.
“I remember Edgardo saying: “Do you know what pleasure you get when you poop? That’s what anal sex is like.” ”
Other members have previously accused Diaz of sexual assault, including Roy Rossello in a television appearance shown in the documentary. The documentary also claims that Diaz was surrounded by unsavory men who preyed on the boys.
But the Menudo heartthrobs have also been under attack by the endless parade of young groupies. “They had to be taken out of my room because there was another one waiting and the first one didn’t want to leave,” Blass said. “As a teenager, I thought, ‘Wow, this is so cool.’
This article originally appeared on Page six and reproduced with permission