Leaked emails between employees of Michael Jackson’s 2009 comeback tour promoter AEG have described the late star as “an emotionally paralysed mess”.
Jackson was booked for a 50-night residency at the O2 Arena in London called This Is It, but he died in June 2009 shortly before the tour was due to start.
AEG have since claimed a £11m cancellation policy but the insurers of the concert, Lloyd's of London, argue that the company made false claims about Jackson's health and readiness to perform.
Ahead of a bid by Lloyd's, The Los Angeles Times published 250 pages of emails exchanged between senior executives at AEG.
Extracts from the leaked documents start from September 2008, and allude to the deteriorating mental and physical state of the singer in the months leading up to the tour. Jackson faced debts of $300 million and, if he pulled out of the tour, AEG would take control of his company and its catalogue of songs.
Paul Gongaware, AEG Live executive speaking to Randy Phillips, Live CEO said: "We are holding all the risk. We let Mikey know just what this will cost him in terms of him making money.
"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.
"He is locked. He has no choice... he signed a contract."
In January 2009 Dan Beckerman, AEG's chief operating officer asked Phillips: "Can he pull this off?"
Phillips: "With time and rehearsal. He has to or financial disaster awaits."
March 2009 Phillips finds: "MJ locked in his room drunk and despondent” and “scared to death." To which AEG President Tim Leiwek replies: "Are you kidding me?
Phillips: "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."
Musical director Kenny Ortega describes Jackson in June 2009 with "strong signs of paranoia, anxiety and obsessive-like behaviour,
“It is like there are two people there. One (deep inside) 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."
Production manager: "He was a basket case. Doubt is pervasive."
Phillips to Leiweke: "We have a real problem here."
AEG said the leaked messages were incomplete and had been released to portray the company in a negative light. AEG's lawyer Marvin Putnam said: "Michael was an adult and it is supercilious to say he was unable to take care of his own affairs."
Source: Entertainment Weekly