TW: abuse and mention of eating disorders
There’s no denying that the music industry is toxic. One Direction, Little Mix, Britney Spears and Taylor Swift are just a few of the many artists who have spoken out about the mistreatment they have endured throughout their careers. Unfortunately, the American boyband Why Don’t We has recently spoken out about their own experience. Members Jonah Marais, Corbyn Besson, Daniel Seavey, Jack Avery, and Zach Herron are currently petitioning for their co-manager, David Loeffler, to be removed from his position and their other co-manager, Randy Phillips, to become their sole manager. The band recently spoke out in an Instagram post about the exploitation they faced at the hands of Loeffler, stating that “Food was restricted to the point that some band members developed eating disorders. We had to sneak food in and hide it in our dresser. We were verbally berated almost every day and alienated from our friends and families.” There is even a video where you can hear Loeffler yelling at Phillips over Herron ordering a Caesar salad. That’s right: a salad.
The most heartbreaking part of all of this is that Why Don’t We just wanted to do what they all loved; make music. They were between 15 and 18 years old when the band formed, new to the industry, naive, and believed that everything they went through was just them “paying their dues.” Even now, the situation is impacting them pursuing their passions. The band is refusing to play together or put out new music until they are released from Loeffler but because of that, Loeffler is suing Phillips and all five members for “breach of contract, anticipatory breach of contract and tortious interference with a business relationship.”
However, the band isn’t letting the lawsuit silence them. They are petitioning the California Labor Commission to terminate their contract with Loeffler. They also have a huge support system railing behind them through this. Fans of the group got #FreeWDW trending on Twitter and family members joined in to fight for their children and show love for their siblings.
No one deserves to deal with the verbal and emotional abuse that these five boys did, especially at the age they were when it all happened. Four of them were minors and they were completely taken advantage of. On Friday, the band made an Instagram post announcing that they’re now allowed to release music again. While this is a step in the right direction, Why Don’t We is still not freed from the monster that is David Loeffler. Whether you’re a supporter of the band or just hearing about them now, I hope that you share the band’s story until justice is brought to them and that this was an eye-opener to the nightmare that is the music industry. Why Don’t We was able to finally speak up about the treatment they experienced, but there are more singers and bands that are not able to do so. Free Why Don’t We, and free everyone that is a victim of the corrupt music industry.