Several members of the boybands Lou Pearlman created shared their conflicting feelings about the controversial music mogul following his death in prison.
Crooners from *NSYNC, the Backstreet Boys and O-Town each took to social media to offer condolences to the disgraced music producer, who died in the midst of a 25-year prison sentence for his role in a colossal Ponzi scheme.
“Many emotions at the news of Lou’s passing,” wrote AJ McLean of the Backstreet Boys. “Without Lou I wouldn’t have met my four brothers or had the opportunity of a lifetime. RIP.”
Pearlman, who died on Friday at 62, was locked up after pleading guilty of fraud, money laundering and conspiracy charges after investigators found he helped dupe investors out of more than $300 million.
Before his downfall, Pearlman was among the most decorated producers in the industry for discovering and promoting some of the biggest acts of the boyband era.
But Pearlman waged rollercoaster relationships with many of his big-name clients, with the Backstreet Boys suing him in 1998 after claiming to receiving a mere fraction of the profits that Pearlman took home. A year later, *NSYNC filed a similar lawsuit.
These highly publicized disputes, however, did stop some band members from giving thanks for giving them their start.
“Word is that #LouPearlman has passed away,” wrote *NSYNC’s Lance Bass. He might not have been a stand-up businessman, but I wouldn’t be doing what I love today w/out his influence. RIP Lou.”
And Bass’ bandmate Justin Timberlake – the biggest pop star to emerge from the boyband era – kept his message simple.
“I hope he found some peace,” he tweeted Sunday. “God bless and RIP, Lou Pearlman.”
Like several others, another member of *NSYNC struggled to pinpoint how he was feeling.
Justin Timberlake offered his condolences following Lou Pearlman’s death.
(Evan Agostini/Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)
“Mixed emotions right now, but RIP Lou Pearlman,” wrote Chris Kirkpatrick.
Singers from O-Town, meanwhile, shared similar sentiments.
Erik-Michael Estrada wrote he was “thankful” for his relationships with his bandmates, as well as with members of *NSYNC, Backstreet and fellow Pearlman invention LFO, while also offering a critical analysis of the mogul’s legacy.
“Many reasons I’m sad about the news,” he tweeted. Primarily because we should be celebrating the man for his musical accomplishments. Instead.. we’re not.”
“That said – I’m sorry for all the families and lives affected by his choices,” he continued.
Pearlman was arrested for his role in a massize Ponzi scheme.
But his bandmate, Jacob Underwood, was at something of a loss for words.
“Hard to describe what I’m feeling,” he wrote. “He was always nice to me, even when he was stealing from me. RIP.”
In addition to the monetary improprieties, Pearlman became the subject of molestation accusations after Vanity Fair published an article about him titled “Mad About The Boys” in 2007. The article only featured secondhand accounts, however, and did not include any first-person stories from the alleged accusers.
Years later, Bass told The Hollywood Reporter that he had heard those rumors as well.
“I’d hear rumors that he would molest the boys before they would even get into the groups,” he told the THR. “I don’t know how much of that is true, but to me, where there’s smoke, there’s fire.”