Ally Brooke has opened up about the “toxicity” she and her Fifth Harmony group mates faced during their time together as a group.
On the debut episode of her podcast The Ally Brooke Show, the X Factor USA and Dancing with the Stars alum revealed that she and bandmates Normani, Camila Cabello, Lauren Jauregui and Dinah Jane underwent “mental and verbal abuse” while in the group. She also shared about a “me too” moment she had with a label head who attempted to take advantage of her.
“It was a whirlwind. I’m going to say how proud I am of Fifth Harmony, of what we did, of what we did for music, what we did for female empowerment, what we did for girl groups,” she said. “We will be in the history books, y’all.”
“But I hate saying this: My time in Fifth Harmony, I didn’t enjoy it. I didn’t love it,” she added. “It was hard because there was so much going on. So much behind the scenes, so much toxicity, so much abuse, so much about of power, so much mental abuse, verbal abuse, and it’s just horrible and to me, it’s a shame because we were so big. I should have enjoyed myself more.”
Also Lauren said that certain people at the group’s label often made her and her group members feel both “inferior” and “uncomfortable.”
When Lauren sought help, a record label executive sexually harassed her
And, at a time when the group was breaking up, and she approached a label head for help, that executive attempted to take advantage of her. “I show up to meet with him and he gives me a freaking thong. I know what he was trying to do. I was humiliated,” she said. “I was going there super vulnerable [asking for help]… At the time, that behavior was accepted.”
Lauren doesn’t name names, but former X Factor USA judge, L.A. Reid signed Fifth Harmony to Epic Records after they group came in third place in 2012. In 2017, reports said that Reid left Epic Records in a haze of sexual harassment allegations.
Lauren tried to keep the group together
For her part, the singer tried to be the glue that held the group together.
“I was that mom. I tried to keep us together as a unit. It was very, very hard. It was a tough experience,” she explained. “There’s a weird balance of being grateful and being okay with the fact that things were not okay for me,” she said. “It was traumatizing.”
“I’ll look at a music video and all I’ll remember is how I felt that day. How I felt super insecure, or how I felt let down or how I felt like I wasn’t good enough,” she added. “People around me told me that I wasn’t good enough, I wasn’t cool enough, I wasn’t valued, nobody cared about me. It was awful but I also try to remember the good times.”
On the podcast, Ally said the girls almost had to “fight for our lives” to get lead singing parts on tracks, and that sh felt “crushed” and “embarrassed” when she didn’t get good parts. “At times, it definitely felt competitive,” she said. “Later on, it did get better and in some moments, there were moments for me to shine and feel like I could contribute but that was really, really hard. That takes a toll on your confidence.”