Michael Jackson described as 'mess' in emails before tour
Promoters said the star was out of shape and consumed with self-doubt
The Associated Press
Posted: Sep 2, 2012 11:03 PM ET
Last Updated: Sep 2, 2012 11:09 PM ET
Promoters of Michael Jackson's planned 2009 comeback described in emails how they feared for the megastar's stability, saying he was out of shape and consumed with self-doubt.
The Los Angeles Times obtained some 250 pages of messages, most between executives at Anschutz Entertainment Group, which was financing the ill-fated "This Is It" concerts set for London. Some of the emails indicated that executives were concerned that Jackson's planned 50-show stand at AEG's 02 Arena would be an expensive bust.
In one exchange AEG's Randy Phillips wrote his boss that Jackson was "an emotionally paralyzed mess." Phillips was writing from Jackson's London hotel suite just hours before a press conference announcing the concert run.
"MJ is locked in his room drunk and despondent," Phillips said in an email to AEG President Tim Leiweke. "I (am) trying to sober him up."
In the end, the emails show, Phillips and Jackson's manager had to dress the pop star, the Times said.
'He is scared to death.'—Randy Phillips, Anschutz Entertainment Group promoter
"He is scared to death," Phillips wrote to Leiweke.
Jackson arrived 90 minutes late for the press conference and made brief remarks that some of the 350 reporters described as odd and disjointed.
In an interview with the newspaper, AEG's attorney Marvin Putnam suggested Phillips had exaggerated in his emails and said Jackson's behavior appeared to be a case of "nerves."
The Times said the messages will probably play a key role in two lawsuits set for trial next year. The shows' insurers are asking a judge to nullify a $17.5-million policy that they say AEG got with false claims about Jackson's health and readiness to perform. And Jackson's heirs filed a wrongful-death suit that accuses the entertainment giant of pressuring the singer to carry on with a comeback despite indications he was too weak.
Lawyers for AEG, which has denied any wrongdoing, told the Times most of the correspondence was produced as discovery in ongoing litigation. They said the messages reviewed by the newspaper were incomplete and leaked to portray the company in a negative light. The lawyers declined to provide additional emails that they said would give a fuller picture, citing a protective order imposed by a judge in the civil litigation.Randy Phillips, Chief Executive of AEG Live and promoter of Michael Jackson's 'This Is It' concert tour testifies at the Conrad Murray involuntary manslaughter trial in Los Angeles on Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2011. (Paul Buck/Associated Press )
Numerous emails show Lloyd's of London unsuccessfully pushing for access to five years of Jackson's medical records in order to expand insurance coverage for the concerts.
The insurer also wanted the singer to undergo a four-hour medical exam that would include three doctors, heart monitoring and blood work. AEG's insurance broker tried to persuade Lloyd's to drop the physical, according to the email discussions. AEG suggested that Jackson's physician, Dr. Conrad Murray, could give an oral recitation of Jackson's recent medical history instead, the Times reported. Lloyd's refused.
A Lloyd's underwriter wrote that repeated requests for written records and details about Jackson's daily fitness program were met "always with no response."
Murray responded to the last of the requests June 25 at Jackson's Southern California home, according to emails presented at the doctor's criminal trial. He wrote that he had talked to Jackson and "Authorization was denied."
Jackson died less than an hour later, according to a timeline Murray gave investigators.
- 3 for FRIDAY: Fast and Furious 6, Epic and Picture Day by Eli Glasner May. 24, 2013 6:05 PM Eli Glasner takes a quick look at three new films: Picture Day with rising star Tatiana Maslany, the audaciously entertaining Fast and Furious 6 and a nature-themed cartoon for the kids called Epic.
Top News Headlines
- Toronto mayor's brother says he never dealt drugs
- The brother of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford has vehemently denied allegations in Saturday's Globe and Mail that he was involved in the illicit drug trade in the 1980s. more »
- Hockey Canada votes to ban bodychecking in peewee hockey
- Hockey Canada's board of directors voted to eliminate bodychecking from peewee-level hockey on Saturday in Charlottetown. more »
- Neil Macdonald: How serious is Obama about curbing the drone surge?
- In a key speech this week, the U.S. president set out a host of supposed new safeguards for America's controversial practice of remote-controlled rough justice. But as Neil Macdonald writes, the underlying rationale for drone use has not fundamentally changed. more »
- Ontario man lost in Australian mountains has survival skills
- The sister of an Ontario man who disappeared in Australia's Snowy Mountains nearly two weeks ago says she remains hopeful he will be found, partly because of his training as a Canadian Forces reservist. more »
Latest Arts & Entertainment News Headlines
- Making The Mandela Tapes
- Producer Robin Benger describes how he obtained broadcast access to interviews Nelson Mandela recorded in the 1990s. A CBC Radio Ideas program on the Mandela tapes airs May 28. more »
- Rolling Stones to rock with Mississauga choir
- The Rolling Stones take to the stage in Toronto Saturday night, accompanied by a Mississauga high school choir, for the first of three hotly anticipated Canadian concerts. more »
- Robert Bateman Centre to promote more than artist's work
- Celebrated Canadian nature artist Robert Bateman is opening a new gallery in Victoria this weekend, but the artist says the aim is to do much more than showcase his work. more »
- FILM REVIEW: The Hangover Part 3
- In a final outing with the wolf pack, the joke's on us, says Eli Glasner. The Hangover Part 3 is a strangely serious and laugh-free sequel in the popular, offensive and raunchy series. more »
- Dan Brown's bizarre rituals May. 24, 2013 5:15 PM The author discusses his new novel, Inferno, and the ritual he performs when launching another book.
- David Sedaris on why having a mean dad might just be the key to success May. 24, 2013 2:42 PM
- McDonald's CEO chastised by 9-year-old B.C. girl
- Will Rob Ford's supporters leave Ford Nation?
- Toronto mayor's brother says he never dealt drugs
- Toronto Mayor Rob Ford denies using crack cocaine
- Dog snared on baited hooks near Vancouver's Grouse Grind trail
- 3 more suspects arrested in slaying of U.K. soldier
- Washington police blame bridge collapse on Alberta trucker
- Wallin may be forced to repay thousands in travel expenses
- Canada ranks 3rd last in paid vacations