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AEG execs expressed concerns about Jackson prior to his death

By | Published on Monday 3 September 2012

Michael Jackson

Various execs at AEG Live, and other associates working on the fated ‘This Is It’ show, expressed concern about the health and mental well-being of Michael Jackson in the month’s before his death, new emails published by the LA Times have revealed, despite the live music giant insisting publicly at the time that the late king of pop was healthy and sufficiently fit for the planned 50 night residency at London’s The O2.

The emails have seemingly come to light as part of the previously reported legal bid by insurer Lloyds Of London not to pay out on an insurance policy linked to the ‘This Is It’ venture, that was cancelled after Jackson’s untimely death in 2009 of course. Lloyds claims that AEG failed to declare information about Jackson’s health problems and drug dependencies.

In the emails published by the LA Times, many seemingly sent while ‘This Is It’ rehearsals were underway, the show’s music director says: “MJ is not in shape enough yet to sing this stuff live and dance at the same time”, while a production manager claims “he was a basket case, doubt is pervasive”. Meanwhile AEG Live executive Paul Gongaware, in an email to the company’s President Randy Phillips, warned that the company should be prepared to stop Jackson from suddenly pulling out of the shows, “which MJ will try to do because he is lazy and constantly changes his mind to fit his immediate wants”.

Other emails show concerns began even before the rehearsals, with an email from Philips revealing what really caused the delay in the high profile press conference in London that announced the ‘This Is It’ residency. While the official line was that traffic problems had pushed back the start time of the event, according to the LA Times Philips reported back to his US colleagues at the time: “MJ is locked in his room drunk and despondent. I [am] trying to sober him up. I screamed at him so loud the walls are shaking. He is an emotionally paralysed mess riddled with self loathing and doubt now that it is show time”.

As the actual shows got closer, overall ‘This Is It’ director Kenny Ortega expressed his concerns to Philips, writing: “It is like there are two people there. One trying to hold on to what he was and still can be and not wanting us to quit him, the other in this weakened and troubled state. I believe we need professional guidance in this matter”.

Ironically with hindsight, Philips wrote in an email after a meeting had been called to address Ortega’s concerns that he felt confident the medic currently caring for the singer – ie Conrad Murray, the doctor convicted of causing Jackson’s death due to negligent care – could handle the problem. According to the LA Times, he said of Murray: “I am gaining immense respect for [him] as I get to deal with him more”, before adding: “This doctor is extremely successful (we check everyone out) and does not need this gig, so he [he’s] totally unbiased and ethical”.

Neither AEG nor reps for the Jackson family or Michael Jackson Estate have responded to the LA Times reports.