While Pearlman helped launch the massively successful Backstreet Boys, N’Sync, LFO and O-Town, he was also accused of withholding royalties and other payments from his boy bands.
“I was in the biggest band in the world and selling millions of records, but I can’t even afford my apartment in Orlando,” Bass said in the interview, adding that, although N’Sync were topping the charts, Pearlman was still handing out a $35-a-day per diem.
Bass and other boy banders’ relationship and legal battle with Pearlman was also revisited in the 2019 YouTube documentary The Boy Band Con, which like the Nightline special investigated how Pearlman parlayed his boy band status into a Ponzi scheme that stole millions from investors.
Pearlman was ultimately arrested and sentenced to 25 years in prison in 2008, and he died in federal custody in 2016. While still a prisoner, Nightline reports, Pearlman attempted to form a prison choir and even pitched a music reality show.
In July, songwriter Desmond Child and producer Edward Pressman revealed they were at work on a Pearlman movie biopic titled Transcom, the name of Pearlman’s fraudulent enterprise.
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“When I heard that Lou Pearlman had passed away, I was so confused on exactly how to feel because you did have every emotion for this guy. You loved him. You hated him. And it pissed me off that he passed away,” Bass said on Nightline.
“There’s so many life lessons that you learn from everyone else’s mistakes, from your mistakes,” Bass added. “He helped start my career. He funded it… I don’t know where I’d be without him. So you have to give him that credit.”