Jack Avery, Corbyn Besson, Zach Herron, Jonah Marais, and Daniel Seavey — the members of Why Don't We — are speaking out about the ways in which they have been allegedly mistreated by their management and production company.
In a lengthy post shared on the group's official Instagram account, the group stated, "As many of you are aware, the unfortunate truth of the mental, emotional and financial abuse we have suffered at the hands of our production company has recently come to light. While our initial instinct was to wait for the storm to pass (as we have been so conditioned to do), we have matured to the point where we now realize that suffering in silence is no longer an option, it is not healthy for either us or our fans."
The boy band — formed in 2016 — continued, "Without a doubt, publicly sharing our truth makes us feel more vulnerable, however, it is a step that we are forced to take to provide the world with access to the harsh 'behind the scenes' that we endured as young teens where verbal abuse, malnourishment, and ultimate control were positioned as the price of success."
The members of the group are all under the age of 21, and have been managed by Randy Phillips and partner David Loeffler, who have gone their separate ways in recent months.
"We were 15 to 18 years old when Why Don't We started. We were young, impressionable, and trusting, the result of being brought up in loving, supportive families. We were initially excited to be all living together in the same house, working together on on what we loved most, our music, little did we know we would eventually become prisoners in the 'Why Don't We compound' under the supervision of one of our managers at Signature Entertainment Partners. He would not only live with us throughout the day, but controlled us 24/7, setting an alarm that would go off if any door or window was opened," the statement read.
The "Big Plans" singers — who released two studio albums — went on to claim that they were "essentially hostages in their own home," and that food was "restricted" which prompted some of the members to develop "eating disorders": "We had to sneak food and hide it in our dresser. We were verbally berated almost everyday and alienated from our friends and family."
The group was allegedly under complete duress, and had "no support system except for each other" and were "made to believe that this was normal."
The MTV Video Music Award-nominated crew finished the post by explaining, "Unfortunately, this need for extreme dominance has played out for the duration of our careers in a variety of ways that have not only inflicted physical and mental, but also extreme financial harm to us. This is now playing out on the public stage in a continued attempt to weaponize our love for our music and our fans."
"We will no longer be silenced and we look forward to finally closing the chapter on this traumatic stage in our lives by turning the page to our truth. Our commitment remains to our music, our label, and most of all to our fans who we cherish and draw strength from as we find our way through this journey," the group concluded.
Billboard reports that the group is currently petitioning the California Labor Comission to throw out their contract with Loeffler and Signature Entertainment. Meanwhile, former partners Loeffler and Phillips are currently suing each other.