A series of troubling communication between promoters have highlighted just how troubled Michael Jackson was in the month leading up to his death in the summer of 2009, with the star described as "drunk and despondent" in one of some 250 messages obtained by the Los Angeles Times.
That description of the one-time King of Pop came from promoter Randy Phillips, who was speaking to his boss at Anschutz Entertainment Group whilst MJ was supposed to be rehearsing for the now fateful This Is It world tour that never was. "I screamed at him so loud the walls are shaking," Phillips continued over Blackberry. "He is an emotionally paralyzed mess riddled with self-loathing and doubt now that it is show time." The tense undercurrent to the message was because Aeg had effectively committed Jackson to a deal that would see him perform for the promoters for a series of dates at London's O2 Arena to the best of his ability, or risk losing his debt-ridden estate to them where they'd then recoup the money through sales of his back catalogue.
The messages have come out with two lawsuits related to the deceased singer that will go to trial next year. One is from the cancelled shows' insurers who are asking a judge to nullify a $17.5 million policy that they say Aeg got with false claims about Jackson's health. The other comes from Jackson's heirs, who are accusing the promoters of pressurising the star into a comeback despite his dubious state of health.