Posted on Mon Sep 3, 2012 09:50 AM PDT
New details about the days leading up to Michael Jackson's passing are starting to emerge in the wake of two pending lawsuits over his death.
According to a series of emails published by the Los Angeles Times, AEG executives were well aware that the King of Pop wasn't in a physical or mental state to handle the scheduled world tour that would have grossed an estimated $132 million. Describing him as a "basket case" and in a "weakened and troubled state" in the days leading up to the tour, executives chose to ignore the warning signs and scrambled to cover up the pop superstar's troubling behavior.
Jackson signed the deal for the world tour in January 2009, promising a "first-class performance," and it was understood that if he was unable to fulfill his contract, AEG would take the profits of his music catalog to recoup their financial losses. The company covered their bases extensively, even providing false information about Jackson's health in an attempt to score a $17.5 million insurance policy on the performance.
One email from AEG Live exec Paul Gongaware to music promoter Randy Phillips read:
- "We are holding all the risk. We let Mikey know just what this will cost him in terms of him making money... We cannot be forced into stopping this, which MJ will try to do because he is lazy and constantly changes his mind to fit his immediate wants."
Although AEG claimed Jackson was "healthy," "sane" and focused, the 51-year-old's erratic behavior indicated otherwise. The day Jackson was to announce the tour during a London news conference, emails between execs indicate Jackson was intoxicated and "scared to death" over the attention. After refusing to leave his hotel suite, MJ's managers had to dress the "Thriller" star and he was 90 minutes late to the scheduled event.
After a series of missed rehearsals, trouble learning routines, and an inability to sing live at times, the show's musical director warned of the potential crisis on the horizon.
He cautioned execs:
- "MJ is not in shape enough yet to sing this stuff live and dance at the same time."
Kenny Ortega, the show director and close confidante of Jackson for over twenty years, divulged to promoter Phillips his assessment of the Grammy winner's condition.
- "There are strong signs of paranoia, anxiety and obsessive-like behavior. I think the very best thing we can do is get a top psychiatrist in to evaluate him ASAP. It is like there are two people there. One (deep inside) trying to hold on to what he was and still can be and not wanting us to quit him, and the other in this weakened and troubled state. I believe we need professional guidance in this matter."
Lloyd's Of London, the show's insurers, are readying to sue AEG, as they believe the company provided false claims about the singer's health. Jackson's heirs have also filed a wrongful-death suit against the company, claiming that they pressured the singer into the 50-show tour knowing full well he couldn't handle it.
What an unfortunate situation for all involved. Rest in peace MJ.
Do you think AEG is at fault?
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