Content warning: This story contains discussion and descriptions of abuse.
American boyband Why Don’t We have spoken out about the “mental, emotional and financial abuse” they allegedly faced at the hands of their production team.
The five-piece — comprising Jack Avery, Corbyn Besson, Zach Herron, Jonah Marais and Daniel Seavey — detailed their experiences of the alleged abuse in a recent statement on social media.
In the post, they claimed the abuse took place under the supervision of one of their Signature Entertainment managers while they were living and working together in a house referred to as the “Why Don’t We compound”.
“He would not only live with us during the day, but controlled us 24/7, setting an alarm that would go off if any door or window was opened,” Why Don’t We’s statement reads.
“Food was restricted to the point that some band members developed eating disorders… We were verbally berated almost every day and alienated from our friends and families.
“We had no support system except for each other and were made to believe that this was ‘normal’, that every artist had to pay their dues.”
Read the full statement below.
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The statement comes two weeks after a legal battle between the band’s managers and former business partners, Randy Phillips and David Loeffler, went public.
As reported by Billboard, Loeffler fired Phillips from the investment company in control of Signature Entertainment, essentially ending his management of the band.
Loeffler claimed that Why Don’t We refused to sign a new recording contract unless Phillips was reinstated, for which he sued them and Phillips for anticipatory breach of contract and tortious interference with a business relationship.
Phillips responded with his own lawsuit to have his former business partner expelled from the limited liability company that owns Signature Entertainment, which is when allegations of abuse that have been levelled at Loeffler arose. Phillips’ attorney Howard King said the band had endured “nightmarish behaviour” while under Loeffler’s supervision, including verbal abuse.
In response, Loeffler told Billboard the claims were “in retaliation for the suit we filed”.
“The allegations now being made by Mr. Phillips have no merit and will be debunked in court,” he said.
The band are now petitioning the California Labor Commission to terminate their contract with Loeffler and Signature Entertainment.