MJ’s execs spoke of making huge fortune out of his death in emails
London: Michael Jackson’s promoters bragged that they will be making “make a fortune” after the pop legend’s death, leaked emails have revealed.
Messages passed between senior figures at music industry giant Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG) also portrayed an increasingly erratic Jackson - too drunk to leave his hotel suite and threatening to destroy his 50-show tour.
“Michael’s death is a terrible tragedy, but life must go on,” the Sun quoted AEG Live director Randy Phillips as writing in one email, published in the Los Angeles Times.
“AEG will make a fortune from merch sales, ticket retention, the touring exhibition and the film/dvd,” he said.
The documentary ‘This Is It’ is about Jackson’s doomed tour, which AEG co-produced, and which grossed more than 260 million dollars worldwide.
The emails from AEG – which operates London’s O2 Arena – suggested that 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 Jackson as an “emotionally paralysed mess,” and added “MJ is locked in his room drunk and despondent.”
Leiweke had immediately replied via his Blackberry: “Are you kidding me?”
Phillips, who according to the emails had to dress Jackson, responded: “I screamed at him so loud the walls are shaking. He is scared to death.”
The emails suggested that 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,” another AEG Live executive, Paul Gongaware wrote to Phillips.
“He is locked. He has no choice,” he said.
Jackson’s estate received a huge boost after his death, with music and film sales generating 173million pounds in the first 12 months.