Members of Ricky Martin’s former boyband Menudo open up about rape and abuse they say they faced 

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Ex-members of Ricky Martin’s former boyband Menudo have opened up about the horrific abuse they claim their manager subjected them to – alleging that they were given drugs and alcohol, exposed to ‘predators,’ and ‘raped’ numerous times.

Menudo was formed in Miami, Florida, by Edgardo Diaz in 1977 – and it went on to become one of the biggest boy bands on the planet, selling more than 20 million records worldwide and taking over many Latin America countries throughout the ’80s and ’90s with its catchy hits.

However, while performing in the successful band, many of its members have now revealed that they were secretly living a nightmare – facing sexual assault and physical abuse behind closed doors.

A brand new, four-part HBO documentary about the band, called Menudo: Forever Young, which premiered on June 23, has now brought the alleged abuse to light.

Ex-members of Ricky Martin’s (seen left in the mid-80s) former boyband Menudo have opened up about the horrific abuse they claim their manager subjected them to

Menudo was formed in Miami, Florida, by Edgardo Diaz (pictured) in 1977 - and it went on to become one of the biggest boy bands on the planet

Menudo was formed in Miami, Florida, by Edgardo Diaz (pictured) in 1977 - and it went on to become one of the biggest boy bands on the planet

Menudo was formed in Miami, Florida, by Edgardo Diaz (pictured) in 1977 – and it went on to become one of the biggest boy bands on the planet

While performing in the band, many of its members have now claimed they were secretly living a nightmare - facing sexual assault and physical abuse. Martin (left) is seen in the band in 1985

While performing in the band, many of its members have now claimed they were secretly living a nightmare - facing sexual assault and physical abuse. Martin (left) is seen in the band in 1985

While performing in the band, many of its members have now claimed they were secretly living a nightmare – facing sexual assault and physical abuse. Martin (left) is seen in the band in 1985 

A new HBO documentary about the band, called Menudo: Forever Young, has now brought the alleged abuse to light. Martin, who was in Menudo from 1984 to 1989, is seen in 1988

A new HBO documentary about the band, called Menudo: Forever Young, has now brought the alleged abuse to light. Martin, who was in Menudo from 1984 to 1989, is seen in 1988

A new HBO documentary about the band, called Menudo: Forever Young, has now brought the alleged abuse to light. Martin, who was in Menudo from 1984 to 1989, is seen in 1988

A new HBO documentary about the band, called Menudo: Forever Young, has now brought the alleged abuse to light. Martin, who was in Menudo from 1984 to 1989, is seen in 1988

A new HBO documentary about the band, called Menudo: Forever Young, has now brought the alleged abuse to light. Martin, who was in Menudo from 1984 to 1989, is seen in 1988

In the doc, former member Angelo Garcia, who joined in 1988 when he was just 11 and left two years later, claimed that he was raped ‘a series of times’ during his time in the band by ‘predators’ who would ‘take advantage of him.’

He said the first time it happened was in his hotel room with an undisclosed man, who gave the then-11-year-old alcohol until he ‘passed out.’

‘When I woke up, I was naked and I was bleeding, so I knew that I had been penetrated,’ Garcia said in the documentary, per the New York Post

‘I had, like, these burn marks on my face from the rug … I was very confused and I didn’t understand.’

Other members of the group also claimed in the documentary that they faced sexual abuse during their time with Menudo, as well as drug use, negligence, exploitation, and bullying from other members – all under Diaz’s watchful eye. 

The group was originally made up of two sets of brothers – Fernando, then 12, and Nefty Sallaberry, then 13, and Carlos, then 12, Oscar, then 11, and Ricky Melendez, then nine – who were put together by Diaz; their debut album, Los Fantasmas, dropped in 1997. 

In the doc, former member Angelo Garcia (far right), claimed that he was raped 'a series of times' during his time in the band by 'predators' who would 'take advantage of him'

In the doc, former member Angelo Garcia (far right), claimed that he was raped 'a series of times' during his time in the band by 'predators' who would 'take advantage of him'

In the doc, former member Angelo Garcia (far right), claimed that he was raped ‘a series of times’ during his time in the band by ‘predators’ who would ‘take advantage of him’

He said the first time it happened was in his hotel room with an undisclosed man, who gave the then-11-year-old alcohol until he 'passed out.' He is pictured earlier this month

He said the first time it happened was in his hotel room with an undisclosed man, who gave the then-11-year-old alcohol until he 'passed out.' He is pictured earlier this month

He said the first time it happened was in his hotel room with an undisclosed man, who gave the then-11-year-old alcohol until he ‘passed out.’ He is pictured earlier this month

'When I woke up, I was naked and I was bleeding, so I knew that I had been penetrated,' Garcia (pictured this year) said in the documentary

'When I woke up, I was naked and I was bleeding, so I knew that I had been penetrated,' Garcia (pictured this year) said in the documentary

'When I woke up, I was naked and I was bleeding, so I knew that I had been penetrated,' Garcia (pictured this year) said in the documentary

'When I woke up, I was naked and I was bleeding, so I knew that I had been penetrated,' Garcia (pictured this year) said in the documentary

‘When I woke up, I was naked and I was bleeding, so I knew that I had been penetrated,’ Garcia (pictured this year) said in the documentary

Over the years, the band saw a slew of its members come and go, and it had more than 30 different people in it throughout its time. 

According to the doc, Diaz had a ‘Fountain of Youth strategy’ for Menudo, which meant if any of the members got too old, they were replaced (often at age 16) – which allowed the band to continue its success and stay profitable for many years.

Numerous guys who used to be in the band alleged that they often had no supervision or security, and were exposed to drugs like marijuana and cocaine by various ‘producers and promoters.’ 

‘One time we were in Colombia, I’m with [fellow Menudo member] Rubén [Gómez], and we’re getting to the hotel,’ former member Sergio Blass, who joined in 1986 and left four years later, said in the doc.

‘We enter our room. All of a sudden, this random guy comes in … And he pulls out what must have been about a kilo of cocaine.

‘We freaked out, because we didn’t know this person … But the guy was actually one of the producers and promoters.’

According to the doc, Diaz had a 'Fountain of Youth strategy' for Menudo, which meant if any of the members got too old, they were replaced - often at age 16. The band is seen in the late '70s

According to the doc, Diaz had a 'Fountain of Youth strategy' for Menudo, which meant if any of the members got too old, they were replaced - often at age 16. The band is seen in the late '70s

According to the doc, Diaz had a ‘Fountain of Youth strategy’ for Menudo, which meant if any of the members got too old, they were replaced – often at age 16. The band is seen in the late ’70s

Other members claimed in the doc they were exposed to drug use, negligence, exploitation, and bullying from other members - all under Diaz's watchful eye. The band is seen in 1984

Other members claimed in the doc they were exposed to drug use, negligence, exploitation, and bullying from other members - all under Diaz's watchful eye. The band is seen in 1984

Other members claimed in the doc they were exposed to drug use, negligence, exploitation, and bullying from other members – all under Diaz’s watchful eye. The band is seen in 1984

Sergio Blass (top left) said he was exposed to drugs like marijuana and cocaine by various 'producers and promoters'

Sergio Blass (top left) said he was exposed to drugs like marijuana and cocaine by various 'producers and promoters'

Sergio Blass (top left) said he was exposed to drugs like marijuana and cocaine by various ‘producers and promoters’

Andy Blázquez (seen recently), who was part of Menudo from 1991 to 1997, blasted his former manager in the doc for the 'extreme sexualization' which he claimed he faced in the band

Andy Blázquez (seen recently), who was part of Menudo from 1991 to 1997, blasted his former manager in the doc for the 'extreme sexualization' which he claimed he faced in the band

Andy Blázquez (seen recently), who was part of Menudo from 1991 to 1997, blasted his former manager in the doc for the ‘extreme sexualization’ which he claimed he faced in the band

Andy Blázquez, who was part of Menudo from 1991 to 1997, blasted his former manager in the doc for the ‘extreme sexualization’ that he claimed he faced in the band ‘from the very beginning.’

Arguably its most famous member was Martin, who joined the group in 1984 when he was 13 and left five years later. He is seen in the group in 1985

Arguably its most famous member was Martin, who joined the group in 1984 when he was 13 and left five years later. He is seen in the group in 1985

Arguably its most famous member was Martin, who joined the group in 1984 when he was 13 and left five years later. He is seen in the group in 1985

‘Like overly sexualized jokes that you shouldn’t say in front of children,’ he added. ‘I remember Edgardo saying, “You know the pleasure that you get when you’re pooping? That’s what anal sex feels like.”’

Arguably its most famous member was Martin, who joined the group in 1984 when he was 13 and left five years later, and it’s been said that the Livin’ La Vida Loca hitmaker’s time in Menudo was what helped launch his major music career. 

Ray Acevedo, who was in Menudo from 1985 to 1988, claimed the Martin was the ‘golden kid’ from the beginning, and he said he made it known to the other members. And Blass reiterated Acevedo’s claims. 

‘To be with Ricky was brutal because he had seniority over me, so if someone knocked on the door, I had to open it,’ Blass recalled. ‘If the phone rang, I had to pick it up. I was like his housewife.’

Acevedo remembered brutal hazing by other members, including one – whom he didn’t name – who once held him over the ledge of a balcony. 

Menudo released a whopping 34 studio albums in total over the years, starred in a mini-series, had three different movies made about the band, sold out numerous world tours, and slayed the charts with its hit songs – including Hold Me, If You’re Not Here (By My Side), and Besame.

Ray Acevedo (seen fourth from left with Martin, third from left, in 1985) claimed the Martin was the 'golden kid' from the beginning, and he said he made it known to the other members

Ray Acevedo (seen fourth from left with Martin, third from left, in 1985) claimed the Martin was the 'golden kid' from the beginning, and he said he made it known to the other members

Ray Acevedo (seen fourth from left with Martin, third from left, in 1985) claimed the Martin was the ‘golden kid’ from the beginning, and he said he made it known to the other members

Acevedo remembered brutal hazing by other members, including one - whom he didn't name - who once held him over the ledge of a balcony. He is seen fourth from the left

Acevedo remembered brutal hazing by other members, including one - whom he didn't name - who once held him over the ledge of a balcony. He is seen fourth from the left

Acevedo remembered brutal hazing by other members, including one – whom he didn’t name – who once held him over the ledge of a balcony. He is seen fourth from the left

And it turns out, this isn’t the first time that members have spoken out about alleged abuse.

Many members previously accused Diaz of exposing them to sexual assault back in 1991, and they have continued to make the claims during live TV show appearances and in interviews over the years.

Diaz, who refused to take part in the new doc, has continuously denied the allegations. 

In 1997, the rights to Menudo were sold by Diaz among the allegations of abuse, and they officially broke up five years later – in 2002. 

However, their new management brought the group back with a new set of people in 2007.

The new group released an EP together but disbanded two years later. Then, in 2019, a few members came back together and performed on a comeback tour, called the Súbete a Mi Moto Tour.

Source: | This article originally belongs to Dailymail.co.uk

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