Bass, who’s a co-host on The Meredith Vieira Show, was speaking about Ashley Judd‘s recent sexual harassment allegations against a well-known media mogul during filming of Kiss the Girls. Bass remarked that “this also happens to men too,” and then when he was 16 or 17-years-old starting out with NSYNC, someone they worked with sexually harassed them.
He added, “I was even aware then, at 16, that this guy was a pedophile, and he was touching me, oddly, but I didn’t feel victimized at the time because I was very aware of it…”
Bass also explained that at the time he didn’t say anything, but “with the guys we would talk about it, we’d kind of joke about it, but it’s not a joking thing, but as a kid, I don’t know it was just, it was odd. But I’m glad that we were aware of it and we didn’t feel victimized at the time.
TMZ makes references to Lou Pearlman, NSYNC’s former manager and manager to many other successful boy bands, who’s been accused of molestation and sexual harassment several times over the years. The allegations are heavily explored in a 2007 Vanity Fair piece entitled “Mad About the Boys.”
Bass doesn’t mention Pearlman by name on “Meredith,” but he has spoken of his inappropriate behavior in the past. Last year in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Bass said Pearlman would “always grab our arms and feel our muscles and go: ‘Hey boys, you workin’ out? Yeahhhh!’”
He did comment that Pearlman never “crossed that line” with him, but he’d heard other rumors about him:
We would hear things, for sure. He would always have young boy limo drivers for Trans Continental Records; those limo drivers would always be put into different boy bands. Then I’d hear rumors that he would molest the boys before they would even get into the groups. I don’t know how much of that is true, but to me, where there’s smoke, there’s fire.
Pearlman has never been charged with any crime for sexual harassment, though he is in jail for masterminding a half-billion-dollar Ponzi scheme, and is serving a 25-year sentence for the embezzlement.