On Tuesday, Gawker received an email sent on behalf of an elderly vlogger named Larry King, touting his recent interview with former boybander Lance Bass. Most of the chat revolved around topics related to Bass' sexuality and his space advocacy, but buried about halfway through the interview was this exchange:

KING: Do you talk to Justin [Timberlake]?

BASS: Oh, yeah...We have this group text that all five of us are on that we've had for a few years now, and at least once a week we're always texting funny things to each other.

Let's stipulate first that the existence of such a group text, laid out according to the terms set forth by Lance Bass, seems suspect. Consider:

  • No other ★NSYNC members attended Justin Timberlake's 2012 wedding to Jessica Biel.
  • The members of ★NSYNC, though co-workers 10 years ago, have appeared together in public fewer than a half dozen times since going on hiatus in the early 2000s.
  • The members of ★NSYNC are not the bunkmates of the Circle C Cabin who are nervous about starting 9th grade and wish it could just be summer forever.
  • Some weeks you just don't want to hear from Joey Fatone.

But we what if the group text is real? Wouldn't it be interesting to know the caliber of "funny things" that have enabled Lance, Justin, Joey, Chris, and J.C. to sustain an incredibly active group text for an unbroken chain of multiple years?

It would be. That's why Gawker is offering up to $2,500 for screenshots of this alleged group text, on a sliding scale based which member of ★NSYNC sends us the shots.

Here's the bounty breakdown:

If you are...

Chris Kirkpatrick (The Prankster/Old One): $2,500

Perhaps because the hubris of your zany pranks offended God, you have had a harder time achieving post-★NSYNC glory than any of your former bandmates. No one is suggesting that Chris Kirkpatrick is in any way poor or in need of cash, fast. But $2,500 is a lot of money.

Lance Bass (The Shy One): $1,500

Arguably the second most visible member of ★NSYNC (currently) after Justin Timberlake, you are certainly the member who has appeared on a Larry King talk show the most recently. In 2002, after completing cosmonaut training (your "proudest moment"), you were forced to give up your seat on a mission to the International Space Station after your sponsors failed to come up with the requisite $20 million needed for space tolls. Despite this, you claim to still enjoy a friendly relationship with the stars—specifically the other members of the boy band ★NSYNC. A Lance Bass screenshot is worth $1000 less than a Chris Kirkpatrick screenshot because you have already bragged openly about the group chat, indicating a readiness to divulge its contents. $1,500 would still go a long way toward creating a truly unforgettable wedding to your fiancé Michael Turchin.

J.C. Chasez (The Serious One): $500

In 2002, former ★NSYNC member Justin Timberlake's debut solo single "Like I Love You" peaked at #11 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Your debut single "Blowin' Me Up (With Her Love)" (which was released the same year, featured on the Drumline soundtrack, and boasted a music video starring Tara Reid) peaked at #35 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Timberlake went on to become "Justin Timberlake." You remained "former ★NSYNC member J.C. Chasez." A J.C. Chasez screenshot is worth $1000 less than a Lance Bass screenshot because, just as you are too proud to ever concede defeat to Timberlake, so are you too proud to admit you could use the extra $1000.

Joey Fatone (The Flirty One): $250

You live in Orlando.

Justin Timberlake (The Baby): $50

If you are Justin Timberlake, you are presumably so rich that money has lost all value to you. A funny story is worth more to you than $5000, because, to you, $5000 is worth $4. We are offering $50 so that you can buy two pizzas for yourself at some point in the future and leave a nice tip.

Bonus Opportunities

Bonuses will be awarded for text messages meeting the following conditions:

  • Justin Timberlake politely declining to invite one or more ★NSYNC members to an event: $200
  • Gossip about other famous people (note: a "famous person" being defined as one whose non-stub Wikipedia entry features an image of them): $500
  • Bonuses for photographs of the penises of members of ★NSYNC start at $1 for Joey's dick and increase by a factor of ten each for Chris, Lance, J.C., and Justin.

Surely one of these guys (Lance) couldn't keep his hilarious jokes to himself. If you've been sent screenshots of the fabled ★NSYNC group text by one of the members, drop us a line and maybe we can work something out. Note that any member wishing to claim the bounty must be able to prove the authenticity of the texts to the satisfaction of Gawker.

Group chat screenshots that have been doctored by Lance Bass to make himself look cool and popular will not be accepted. Anonymity guaranteed.

[Art by Jim Cooke // Source photo via Getty]