Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Michael Jackson execs bragged we ‘will make a fortune’ after singer’s death

Michael Jackson promoters bragged they would "make a fortune" after the King of Pop's death, according to leaked emails which emerged today.
A spate of confidential documents showed a music chief write "life must go on" following the singer's death.
Messages between senior figures at music industry giant Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG) also portray an increasingly erratic Jackson - who was too drunk to leave his hotel suite and threatening to destroy his 50-show tour.
In one email, which surfaced today in The Los Angeles Times, AEG Live director Randy Phillips wrote: "Michael's death is a terrible tragedy, but life must go on.
“AEG will make a fortune from merch sales, ticket retention, the touring exhibition and the film/dvd.”
The documentary This Is It about Jackson's doomed tour, which AEG co-produced, grossed more than $260million worldwide.
The emails from AEG – which operates London’s O2 Arena – suggest Jackson was drinking heavily and “riddled” with self-loathing in the weeks before his sudden death in June 2009.
Writing to AEG chief Tim Leiweke in March 2009, Phillips described the doomed pop star as an "emotionally paralysed mess" and added "MJ is locked in his room drunk and despondent”.
Leiweke's immediately replied via his Blackberry: "Are you kidding me?"
Phillips, who according to the emails had to dress the singer, responded: "I screamed at him so loud the walls are shaking. He is scared to death."
The 250 pages of emails will interest Jackson's family, who are pursuing a wrongful-death suit, accusing AEG of pressuring the singer into high-profile comeback despite indications he was ill.
The messages are likely to figure in legal proceedings against AEG by insurance company Lloyd’s of London, which had to pay out $17.5m (£11m) when MJ’s comeback tour was cancelled.
At the time the emails between Phillips and Leiweke were sent, Jackson was in London to announce the concerts.
When the Thriller singer finally appeared 90 minutes late, reporters noted his remarks seemed "disjointed and strange" the LA Times said.
Just weeks before the concert debut, scheduled for mid-July 2009, show director Kenny Ortega warned Phillips: "There are strong signs of paranoia, anxiety and obsessive-like behaviour."
He called for an immediate psychiatric evaluation, which AEG resisted.
Ortega added: "MJ is not in shape enough yet to sing this stuff live and dance at the same time."
Jackson died soon after, on June 25 at age 50, from an overdose of propofol, a powerful anesthetic.
The emails suggest AEG execs were worried about Jackson’s ability to perform his comeback tour but felt confident their contract was solid.
"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," wrote another AEG Live executive, Paul Gongaware, to Phillips.
"He is locked. He has no choice.”
AEG deny any wrongdoing and claim the leaked messages were incomplete and were released to portray the company in a negative light.
Jackson's estate received a huge boost after his death, with music and film sales generating £173million in the first 12 months.


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