Why Don't We Members Accuse Manager Of Abuse
The members of Why Don’t We spoke up Thursday about the “mental, emotional, and financial abuse” they allegedly suffered at the hands of manager David Loeffler.
Each of the five members of Why Don’t We shared the same statement on their Instagram accounts.
Jack Avery, Corbyn Besson, Zach Herron, Jonah Marais and Daniel Seavey said they were initially excited about living together in the same house while working on their music. “Little did we know that we would eventually become prisoners in the ‘Why Don’t We compound’ under the supervision of one of our managers,” reads the statement, which does not refer to Loeffler by name.
“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. Needless to say, we were not given the security code to the alarm, essentially making us hostages in our own home.”
The singers, who currently range in age from 20 to 23, allege that Loeffler restricted food “to the point that some band members developed eating disorders.”
They said they snuck food into the house and hid it.
“We were verbally berated almost every day and alienated from our friends and families,” Why Don’t We claimed. “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.”
Loeffler and Why Don’t We co-manager Randy Phillips are currently embroiled in a legal battle over the right to manage the group.
The members of Why Don’t We are salaried employees under the terms of their agreements with Loeffler’s Signature Entertainment and Phillips’ PDM III, which jointly hold the rights to “direct and control” Why Don’t We and the solo careers of its members. The companies – in which the five singers have shares – also own the group’s music, masters and revenue streams.
Earlier this year, Loeffler fired Phillips from the investment company that controls his Signature Entertainment, at which point – according to Loeffler – the members of Why Don't We refused to sign a new recording contract with Atlantic or perform unless Phillips was reinstated.
On Aug. 17, Loeffler filed a lawsuit in Florida against Phillips for tortious interference with a business relationship. Loeffler is also suing the members of WDW for anticipatory breach of contract.
Phillips fired back with a lawsuit against Loeffler on Aug. 26 in California claiming Loeffler did not honour an agreement to allow him to step back into the role of manager in 2020 after a three-year hiatus. Phillips is seeking to have the court expel Loeffler from PDM III.
Phillips’ lawsuit alleges Loeffler was abusive to the five members and displayed “nightmarish behaviour” that included “verbal abuse, screaming at them at the top of his lungs, sometimes for 10-20 minutes.”
Loeffler is accused of forcing WDW members "to share two small bedrooms, even though the house had a spare, unused bedroom” and allegedly monitored “almost every movement they made” and did not allow them to have friends or visitors.
Phillips also accuses Loeffler of withholding a $1 million U.S. publishing advance intended for the members of WDW during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Loeffler has said Phillips’ lawsuit is “without merit and in retaliation for the suit we filed against him.”
FROM 2018: Watch Hanging With... Why Don't We
A lawyer representing the group members said in a statement that they are siding with Phillips. “After years of mental and financial abuse at the hands of Dave Loeffler and his associates, Randy Phillips seeks to salvage a deteriorating relationship with rising stars Why Don’t We … with the production companies co-owned by Phillips … For unknown motives, other than perhaps professional jealousy, Loeffler has attempted to interfere with Phillips's role as primary manager of these artists.”
None of the allegations in either lawsuit have been tested in a court.
On Aug. 30, the group petitioned the California Labor Commission to toss out its contract with Loeffler and his company for allegedly violating the Talent Agencies Act.
“This is now playing out on the public stage in a continued attempt to weaponize our love for our music and our fans,” reads the Why Don’t We statement. “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.”
Why Don't We's sophomore album The Good Ones and the Bad Ones debuted at No. 3 on the Billboard 200 chart but then plummeted 147 spots in its second week.
Listen to music from Why Don't We