While co-hosting the Meredith Vieira Show recently, Lance Bass and the show’s other hosts were discussing sexual harassment allegations recently made by Ashley Judd against a prominent film executive in Hollywood. During the discussion, Bass opened up about his own experience with sexual harassment in the industry, saying he was “inappropriately touched by someone he worked with” as a teenager in NSYNC.
Bass was 16 and 17 years old and a member of the boy band at the time, and while he didn’t name the person directly, TMZ points out that the story he told on the show sounded eerily familiar to stories he’s told in the past that involve the group’s former manager, Lou Pearlman. In addition to NSYNC, Pearlman managed a handful of other immensely popular boy bands in the ’90s – the Backstreet Boys, O Town, LFO, Take 5 and more. Pearlman is currently serving a 25-year jail sentence for embezzlement, and has been the subject of similar allegations of harassment of his former clients in the past, although charges have never been formally brought against him for it.
Bass has previously talked about interactions with Pearlman while in NSYNC and said Pearlman would “always grab our arms and feel our muscles and go: ‘Hey boys, you workin’ out? Yeahhhh!'” Bass never felt that Pearlman crossed the line, but such comments do seem to fall in line with Bass’s recent claims of sexual harassment.