Rosie O’Donnell Calls for Release of Menendez Brothers After Peacock Doc: ‘I Believe Them and It’s Time’ (Video)

“Menendez + Menudo: Boys Betrayed” contains new allegations of abuse from former Menudo member Roy Rosselló

Rosie O'Donnell, Boys Betrayed
Rosie O'Donnell, Boys Betrayed (Getty Images/Peacock)

After watching the Peacock documentary “Menendez + Menudo: Boys Betrayed,” Rosie O’Donnell is calling for the release of the Mendendez brothers, who were sentenced to life in prison after killing both their parents in 1989. “I believe them, it’s time,” she said of Lyle and Erik’s defense at the time that they had been sexually molested by their father, Jose Menendez.

The abuse allegations took on new life after former Menudo member Roy Rosselló revealed in an April appearance to promote the doc that he had been drugged and raped by Jose Hernandez when he was young.

In a video shared to TikTok on Sunday, O’Donnell said that Lyle had initially reached out to her in 1996, but even though she believed they were innocent, she wasn’t ready to publicly support them.


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♬ original sound – Rosie ODonnell

“I got a little story to tell. In 1996, Lyle sent me a letter [that] basically said, ‘I know you know. And I hoped we could connect.’ And you know, he was right. I did know that they were innocent. I did know that those were boys who had been incested, and why I knew and how I knew.’ In 2019, O’Donnell revealed that she had been sexually abused by her own father.

She admitted she didn’t respond to Lyle at the time. “I was afraid and I wasn’t ready to touch the subject and you know, it was 1996,” she said. “In ’96, you know in the late 80s, people weren’t ready to accept the fact that boys to get raped sometimes by their fathers, and as a culture, we ridiculed them. Jokes about them on ‘Saturday Night Live,’ jokes from Jay Leno every night. Everyone thought this was a funny target to kids who had been molested since the age of preschool, fighting back and standing up and people thought they just wanted the money. They had the money. They didn’t need the money. Money was not what it was about.”

After sharing a previous TikTok about the documentary, O’Donnell was contacted by Lyle’s wife Rebecca and she and the brothers began talking and she is now advocating for them to be released from prison.

“Both Lyle and Erik have amazing prison records with what they’ve done with their time and how they’ve spent their 30 plus years in jail. So we believe them now because of Roy from Menudo… It’s time I believe them. They were horribly abused by their parents. They did the unthinkable, which had been done to them day after day after day. And they paid the price for that.”

O’Donnell argued that if their allegations of abuse had been believed, the brothers would have served only 10 to 25 years instead of receiving a sentence of life without the possibility of parole. “Free the Menendez brothers. It’s time,” she said.

Ryan Murphy, who has already tackled the trial of O.J. Simpson and the hunt for serial killer Jeffrey Dahmar, plans to make Season 2 of Netflix’s “Monster” about the Menendez brothers.

“Menendez + Menudo: Boys Betrayed” is now streaming on Peacock.