New details are coming to light regarding Michael Jackson's behavior as he prepped for his 2009 comeback tour, and those details are not pretty.
The Los Angeles Times reveals that Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG) was deeply concerned about Jackson's stability in the run-up to his tour.
Executives referring to him as "self loathing" and "lazy," among other things.
Jackson's behavior was becoming more and more erratic, according to the emails, and fear was growing that the 50-show tour would not go on.
"MJ is locked in his room drunk and despondent," AEG's Randy Phillips said in an email to his boss AEG President Tim Leiweke during that time.
"I [am] trying to sober him up ... I screamed at him so loud the walls are shaking. He is an emotionally paralyzed mess riddled with self loathing and doubt."
AEG Live executive Paul Gongaware felt MJ "distrustful of people in suits" and felt he was "bigger" than the $132 million he was set to earn from the tour.
"We are holding all the risk," Gongaware wrote to Phillips.
"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."After Jackson's death, the promoters culled together rehearsal footage for an enormously successful This Is It concert film and album. Still, questions remain about Michael's readiness for the tour, and what role that played in his demise.
Dr. Conrad Murray was convicted of involuntary manslaughter, but the battle over the death of the greatest entertainer of all time continues.
The cache of confidential AEG emails obtained by The LA Times offers a darker, upsetting picture of the relationship between the down-on-his-luck idol and the buttoned-up corporation taking a bet on his erratic talents.
The emails will probably play a central role in two lawsuits:
- The shows' insurers are asking a judge to nullify a $17.5-million policy they say AEG got with false claims about MJ's health and readiness to perform.
- Jackson's heirs are pressing a wrongful-death suit that accuses AEG of pressuring the star to carry on despite indications he was too weak.