A trove of secret emails reveals Michael Jackson was “a basket case” in the months and days before his death — and his concert promoters knew it.
Internal messages suggest Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG) honchos were worried about the pop star’s mental state from the moment they signed a contract for a 50-show comeback in January 2009.
The emails, obtained by the Los Angeles Times, are central to several ongoing lawsuits about the failure of Jacko’s “This Is It” tour.
The communiques contain dire warnings.
“MJ is locked in his room drunk and despondent,” AEG promoter Randy Phillips wrote to his boss before a big concert announcement that year. “He is an emotionally paralyzed mess riddled with self-loathing and doubt.”
Amid rehearsals in mid-June, a production manager wrote: “He was a basket case. Doubt is pervasive.”
Show director Kenny Ortega later complained to Phillips that Jackson was exhibiting “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,” Ortega said.
The emails show AEG balked at the idea of having a shrink talk with Jackson and relied instead on his doctor Conrad Murray — later convicted of giving the singer a fatal dose of the powerful anesthetic propofol to help him sleep.
The insurance company for the concert, Lloyd’s of London, repeatedly demanded a physical from Jackson, which AEG never arranged.
It also demanded that Murray provide a five-year medical history.
“Authorization was denied,” Murray told AEG in an email sent from the bedroom where Jackson died of a overdose an hour later.
Lloyd’s is now trying to nullify the $17 million policy, saying AEG hid information about Jackson’s ability to carry out the grueling shows.
And Jackson’s estate is suing AEG, claiming it played a role in his death by pushing him too hard to perform in his fragile state.
The emails portray AEG as desperate to get Jackson onto the stage.
“I screamed at him so loud the walls are shaking,” Phillips wrote after Jackson refused to leave his London hotel room for the big announcement in March.
“He is scared to death.”
AEG could not be reached for comment, but its lawyer Marvin Putnam told the Los Angeles Times the leaked emails were taken out of context and presented an exaggerated version of the company’s concerns leading up to Jackson’s death on June 25, 2009.
“Michael Jackson was an adult,” he said. “It is supercilious to say he was unable to take care of his own affairs.”
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