Sep 03 2010

Sony and AEG: They Had Him Trapped in ‘Financial Bondage’ (Updated)

Category: Justice,Photos,QuotesSeven @ 7:56 pm




NEW INTRO added 9/03/2012: This piece is based on what we’ve been told by some who were there, on information in a few books that have been published, and on some articles and documents that we’ve seen (for instance,the contract between MJJ and AEG). It may not be exactly right but my guess is that it’s pretty close.  I’ve decided to re-share it in consideration of an article just published about some leaked AEG emails before/during preparations for “This Is It“. Those emails are very telling. The article of course has a snotty, negative, media slant as most do about Michael, and the timing of its publication is suspect – it appeared within 48 hours of the 25th anniversary of the release of Michael’s “BAD” album and Spike Lee’s fantastic “BAD 25” film about the making of that album. However, those leaked emails are undeniable fact. The undeniable fact is that AEG knew there were issues with Michael’s physical and emotional wellbeing and they tried to hide them. They required those working for them to hide them (lie) about what was going on, while also trying to coerce Lloyds of London to forego required physical examinations required for their insurance coverage. Why would they do that if there was nothing to hide?

The article is here:,1597,4847317.story?page=1   Why would “AEG’s insurance broker” try to “persuade Lloyd’s to drop the  physical” in London if Michael Jackson was perfectly fit and able?

Most chilling, the last sentence of the article reads: “Michael’s death is a terrible tragedy, but life must go on. AEG will make a fortune…”  Thus, it seems loss of MJ’s life was just “collateral damage” in this whole business deal. The indifference is stunning.

The following is what I wrote about this situation exactly two years ago, and given what we see in the LATimes article in those leaked emails (nevermind the rest of it and the interesting timing of the article), it may not be too far off the mark:

Like a dancing marionette in a cage, they had him trapped. I’ve written before about corporate parasitism and abuse, and particularly the abuse of black artists. In the last couple of days I’ve become aware of some very informative blog entries from other people who are investigating the contracts and legal agreements between Michael Jackson (Company LLC), $ony, and AEG. I provide details here to help shed light on the actual content of some of these agreements and contracts. If these accounts are true, we can see how unfair (and even duplicitous) they were to Michael, targeting him during the weakest financial points in his life, in an effort to gain or re-gain control of his most valuable asset, his music catalogs – and everything else too seemingly, in the case of AEG.

The objective of these predatory and parasitic entities? Profit. Control. Power. Getting Michael Jackson at the O2 would help AEG Live overtake their main competitor, LiveNation in the entertainment venue market. And if that failed, the contract enabled them to very nicely profit from and have complete power and control over (ie: OWN) the most successful and greatest entertainer who ever lived, including and especially his catalog(s). If he did not or could not do what they wanted, they were going to own him. Of course they did this under the guise of “helping” him out of his various financial crises, just like $ony always did. This is disaster capitalism at its worst (or finest, depending on whether you are a capitalist or not). Corporations typically operate this way with impunity all over the world. This is nothing new for them. And this is yet another reason why I believe these contractual agreements were likely just as abusive and/or duplicitous as they appear to be.

The Michael Jackson cacophony is fascinating in that it is not about Jackson at all. I hope he has the good sense to know it and the good fortune to snatch his life out of the jaws of a carnivorous success. He will not swiftly be forgiven for having turned so many tables, for he damn sure grabbed the brass ring, and the man who broke the bank at Monte Carlo has nothing on Michael.

-James Baldwin, ‘Here be Dragons’

First, I’ll share some information about the contract between AEG and Michael Jackson Company LLC (not Michael Jackson the individual). There’s a reason the contract is not between AEG and Michael Jackson himself. The reason is that Michael Jackson Company LLC is the entity which contains the holdings for all of Michael’s assets. And, if Michael did not pay back advances given to him by AEG or complete the tour, they could sue him for the advances and production costs of the tour. This promissory note was collateralized by Michael’s assets, including the catalog(s).  I have mentioned here before that AEG was paying the rent on Michael’s Carolwood estate home, paying for his children’s schooling, etc. and that they had threatened to ‘pull the rug‘ out from under him if he didn’t start showing up for rehearsals when they thought he should, and if he did not do everything they thought he should. They had him in ‘financial bondage’, as one other blogger put it.

His brother Randy also corroborated that they were threatening and controlling Michael financially and in other ways (even threatening his life, according to brother Randy), and I have absolutely no doubt at this point that they were. That video and post is here.  The pertinent part of the blog on the promissory note between Michael Jackson Company LLC and AEG is as follows:

… However, what has not been widely published is Leonard Rowe’s accusation that AEG Live’s contract was not with Michael Jackson the artist, but rather was with The Michael Jackson Company LLC. The reason why Rowe says the contract is between the Michael Jackson Company and AEG is because Michael’s assets were held in the company. If Michael failed to do the tour or failed to live up to his contract, AEG could sue Michael for advances given to him and for the production costs of the tour. Michael’s share of the ATV, according to Rowe, was held by the Michael Jackson Company LLC. According to this blog, Rowe is quoted in his book as writing:

…This promissory note from Michael Jackson Company, LLC and Michael Jackson, the artist,required Michael to pay the principal amount of the note, in full on the maturity date as defined above to be about six months after the first leg of the tour in London, but not later than December 31, 2009.(whichever comes first), or six months after written request is received from AEG by Michael Jackson or his company. However, AEG gets really slick here in this promissory note, because the entire note is collateralized not by Michael Jackson the artist, but by Michael Jackson Company, LLC. Why is this you may wonder? More than likely it is because Michael Jackson’s business holdings, which would include his publishing rights and catalogue, are owned by Michael Jackson, LLC and not Michael Jackson, the individual artist. So if the promissory note is for any reason not paid or defaulted upon, the assets of the Michael Jackson Company, LLC get forked over to AEG. In other words, owning Michael Jackson Company, LLC and/or its assets, means owning Michael Jackson.” (Rowe, Pg. 173)

Now, I don’t have Rowe’s book and personally am on the fence about his credibility. On the other hand, I trust the entity that is AEG and Randy Phillips in particular, even less. I know those who were there during the rehearsals for the shows, and what they saw first-hand. Their accounts jive with what Rowe says about this, and what Randy Jackson said they were doing to his brother. That is no less than three different sources saying the same thing about how AEG was controlling Michael financially. And now, we have some actual details of the contract which seem to confirm what these sources say.

I do not know what is customary in such contracts between artists (or their respective companies) and a promoter for tours of this magnitude. My admittedly uneducated opinion is that Michael didn’t want to do these shows and wasn’t prepared to do them. Other promoters had previously talked to Michael about performing again and rightfully decided against any deals with him at or just before that same timeframe. Michael was likely talked into or coerced into the O2 AEG deal (perhaps by Tohme Tohme, Colony Capital et al – they’re all tied together) and thus agreed to do ten shows. Once again, I assert that Michael was targeted by these corporate entities while at his financially weakest. The advantage to them was profit by overtaking a market, and barring or in addition to that, profit via complete ownership and control of Michael Jackson the entity and all his assets (ie: again, profit and control).

Overnight, those ten shows became fifty shows, and AEG felt fully confident that Michael would do all those shows whether he wanted to or not (or died trying) because they knew they had Michael over a financial barrel. This explains the arrogance and the attitude on Phillips’ part that he owned Michael (they essentially did). They had him trapped in financial bondage, or whatever term one chooses to use. I’ve said this many times before in personal conversations but did not know the exact details – only that they had him in a financial trap, that they were controlling him financially, and that they had threatened to destroy him if he didn’t perform all the shows, and that he had no control over the production, or his life, at that point.  He was literally a dancing marionette being controlled by AEG.

UPDATE: 2010-09-06

Commenters below are puzzled as to why Michael may have signed such a seemingly terrible contract with AEG. Here is some additional information that might help readers to understand Michael’s possible reasoning in doing so:

A friend tells me that she went through the AEG contract thoroughly herself, and that even with the redacted parts, there was enough to put the pieces together. Her impression was that Michael was to receive several advances from AEG once the contract was signed, and at different times throughout the tour, one of which was paid immediately. She believes that advance was possibly to secure a property in LasVegas that Michael called ‘Wonderland (not its official name). I do remember as I know readers do, that Michael fallen in love with a property in Vegas that he very much wanted, and so it could be the advance money was meant to secure that property for himself and his children. She got the impression that this house was was one of the major ‘inducements‘ to sign the contract, while he had refused previously to sign with AEG. A commenter below also states that the MJLLC/AEG contract also stipulates that part of Michael’s salary be withheld for payment on this home in Las Vegas.  No doubt Tohme was aware of Michael’s previous refusal to sign with AEG:  enter Colony Capitol. Michael also did not want to lose Neverland, which was about to happen.

Was this advance the money Tohme had taken and returned after Michael’s death? We don’t know, but it seems possible. Also she reminds (and we know) that Michael very much wanted to do films and the AEG/O2 deal was also a means to that end as well, so that might have been another reason Michael signed.

She remembered too, as do I, that Michael kept cash in his house – usually around $1 million according to LaToya. LaToya could not find the cash after Michael died and Tohme had fired all the staff that same day. I seem to remember reading or hearing about these details myself after his death. Very odd, both the missing money and the same-day firings of all staff by Tohme.

If these things are at all true, Michael likely started out knowing exactly what he was signing and had the above reasons to finally do so, given the ‘inducements‘ contained in the contract. However, things apparently quickly spun out of control as more and more shows were added. Michael knew what he could do and what he could not do, however by that time, it was all beyond his control, and it seems no one was listening to him anymore. Tohme likely mostly had to answer to Thomas Barrack and AEG with Michael coming in a distant third, if he was considered at all. Tohme does (or did), I believe, work with Colony Capitol so his working with and for them as well as for Michael seems to me to be a blatant conflict of interest and could be why he continued to hang around even after he was fired by Michael – to look after Colony’s and AEG’s interests.

With the stipulations of the contract Michael signed, he stood to literally loose everything he currently owned and every dream he had for the future if he didn’t fulfill his obligations – meaning do all 50 shows, even if he felt that was way too many for him. It remains haunting to me personally that Michael had said just some years ago that he could not tour again or it would kill him – and how he’s gone. That is what always comes back to me when I go through this situation in my mind. These ‘inducements‘, these ‘coersions‘ used to get Michael to sign onto a tour, signing him, then expanding the tour to so many dates he did not previously agree to and was evidently very concerned he could not complete, seems like a dupe – a stab in the back. To use Michael’s own words from another debacle in his life “somehow greed got in there“.

Tohme-Tohme knew nothing of the music business and said so himself. His job, he said, was to ‘take care of Michael‘. It seems he failed in that regard, in a big way. As evidenced by the outcome, he took much better care of Colony Capitol and AEG than he did Michael Jackson.

_ _ _

Michael in Corporate Chains

Michael in Corporate Chains

Now, on to Sony, and a bit further back into the past. Blogger MUSIKFactory2 shares the following, as she researched the contracts over the years between Michael and Sony:

In 1985, Michael Jackson bought the ATV Music Publishing aka Beatles Catalog for $47.5 million. Yes, Michael used to own ALL of ATV Catalog.

In 1995, Michael was experiencing financial problems. Sony proposed an attractive deal to buy half of the Catalog for $90 million. Michael accepted. ATV Publishing was merged with Sony and renamed Sony/ATV Music Publishing.

At the time, it appeared to be a business savvy decision. In hindsight, it will turn out to be a deadly mistake.

Michael Jackson-Sony discord started in 2000 and disintegrated in 2002.

The onset of Michael’s trying times, his frequent utterances of conspiracy and his fear for his life coincide with the aforementioned time frame.

The incredible machinations of the men from Japan and their American allies were designed to ensure nothing less than the destruction of Michael Jackson and billions of dollars profit for Sony. The dark underbelly of the entertainment world is not a pretty sight. It’s time to hold it up to the light.

-Lynton Guest, ‘The Trials of Michael Jackson

Here’s the part that too many people do not understand, also from MUZIKFactory2:

Michael was expecting the licenses to the masters of his back Catalog (mechanical copyrights) to revert back to him in 2000 which would have allowed him to market his songs without sharing profits with Sony.

Michael was in awe to find out that due to various clauses in his Sony contract, the date when the copyrights revert back to him was many years away.

The contract required Michael to deliver to $ony a certain number of albums on a given period. For every album he didn’t deliver, Sony added more years to when the mechanical copyrights would revert back to Michael.

Michael stated that he wasn’t informed of such clauses.

Upon investigation, Michael found out that the law firm that represented him also represented Sony. He used this conflict of interest to extricate himself from the Sony Contract. Michael would deliver Invincible album, Sony retains rights to repackage Michael’s back Catalog and Michael is out of his Sony contract.

Michael was so chagrined by the entire situation that he dragged his feet during the production of Invincible. To make matters worse, Sony restricted Michael’s creative control, which it had never done with other albums. There were many heated debates between the parties over production, budget and promotion.

As an advance on forthcoming sales of Invincible, Michael had negotiated a $188 million loan from Sony, using his stake in Sony/ATV Catalog as collateral.

While demanding that Michael reimburse the loan, Sony simultaneously sabotaged the production, promotion and the sale of Invincible album.

Why did Sony sabotage against its own artist?

Michael wasn’t just another artist to Sony. He was a business partner with an equal stake in Sony/ATV Publishing. Now that Michael left the label, stakes had just gotten high. Sabotaging Invincible was just another mundane business decision for Sony to keep its publishing division intact.

When half of the Catalog changed hands in 1995, parties signed a contract that allowed Michael to dissolve the LLC and take his half of the Catalog with him upon exiting the label as well as %50 of the earnings from the years of LLC.

The LLC between Michael and Sony gained considerably in value since its inception, with hundreds of millions of dollars in liquid assets. If Michael were to dissolve the joint venture, Sony would have been forced to transfer half of the LLC assets and half of the Music Publishing Catalog that it acquired together with Michael. Sony would also have to pay hundreds of millions of dollars to MJ for the %50 of the earnings.

This could result in a massive financial deficit for Sony, undermining what little financial stability it had achieved through fiscal restructuring.

At the time, the entire music industry was suffering from a depressed economy. Sony was not exempt from this downward trend. In 2000, Sony cut off 17,000 jobs. After it announced a disasterous $927 million net loss in first 3 months of 2003, Sony’s stock sank 24% in 2 days, losing $3.8 Billion of its value. The news shocked the Stock Market and the event was dubbed as “Sony Shock“.

In October 2003, Sony announced it would cut off another 20,000 jobs.

Sony Shock was also shock to us” said Nobuyuki Idei, Chairman of Sony.

Due to the downsizing and modest hits of Jennifer Lopez and Michael Jackson, the record division posted a %9 gain but with an operation deficit of over $100 million (Sony 2002 Annual report). By the third quarter of the fiscal year, the only reason that Sony Entertainment Division posted a gain was because of the increased value of the Yen when converted to Western currencies.

One of the foundations that upheld the profit margin was its Music Publishing Department. Michael dissolving the LLC was a risk Sony couldn’t afford.

If only MJ defaulted on his loan, Sony could take full possession of the Catalog.

Michael Jackson was beset with trials & and tribulations which, on face of it, were unconnected to each other. There was the child abuse charge, the downturn in record sales, the financial catastrophes and the struggles to retain ownership of Sony/ATV, his back catalogue and Neverland.

Yet far from being coincidental, everywhere we detected the hidden hand of Sony attempting to orchestrate events.

-Lynton Guest, ‘The Trials of Michael Jackson

46 Responses to “Sony and AEG: They Had Him Trapped in ‘Financial Bondage’ (Updated)”

  1. Melinda says:

    Sigh. I can only read bits at a time, because it makes me so sick. They are worse than parasites. At least after you die, parasites don’t continue to feed off you. Thanks for posting. I guess if MJ lived it, the least I/we can do is be his witnesses.

  2. Bradly says:

    I Loving You Michael Jackson

  3. mjbluemoon says:

    like MJ said He’s INVINCIBLE !♥♬ツ

  4. carina for mjj says:

    I found this post rather late, but thank you 7 for it,it just ties the chain of evils together.
    And also thanks to many commentators. Michael was killed by Disaster Capitalism.The planning
    was cunning and streched for years.The Chandler story made the first blow to debilitate MJJ,
    but not sure if it was part of the Final Plan.I do think it possible that Janet Arvizio could
    have gotten some help and advice from the coorporates involved.Though aquitted Michael never recovered and I am not surprised why.It ripped him up psychologically for years to come. This point esp. for Heidi and Jeannie who don´t understand why business savy Michael could no longer manage his economy. Also he was hurt professionally.It affected all aspects of his life.–Re the more recent events: So Jermaine recommends Thome-Thome, a despicable character,but he managed initially to persuade Mihcael.Thome contacts* Randy Phillips (AEG)who
    starts to set up the deadly conntract.And thome-thome (the ambassador to Senegal!!)is on
    tape proclaiming his great looove for Michael,that he ,t-t, now completelöy takes care of Michael, his personal affairs as well as financial.He shoved up at the hospital when Michael was taken there dead. Why? And who were the 2 characters who had brunch round the corner when Michael was dying on 6/25? By now we all know how it played out.It is not over yet, and how come Katherine Jackson says she has not gotten any money yet? *-Now above I forgot to mention a most important link in the chain, :*Tom Barrack*, a venture capitalist whom Thome contacted first,*Barrack specializes in investments in ” out of favor…products or product misalignments”, a goldmine for disaster capitalism. Michael was indeed a goldmine for them and worth more dead than alive.Thome cosidered him “an instituition” rather than a human beeing, his own words.—-Michael was murdered and robbed.

  5. june says:

    Seems like a good place to post this though it won’t get many readers. I’m just so happy today that Katherine Jackson filed a wrongful death lawsuit against AEG and others. This may get things moving along. As for Murray, the contract he had with AEG was signed by him,by AEG, but not by Michael, so I feel this ties him even more closer to AEG; they can sink together for all I care. AEG didn’t look out for our Michael; while I don’t believe they wanted him DEAD, they wanted him to default on the shows so they could take what they could get and, as Seven says, his assets were under the LLC, a party to that nefarious and self-serving contract. Michael would have come away with nothing after all the advances, inducements, production costs and other items to come from his salary were deducted. I’ve read that excuse for a contract. Go Katherine for yourself and for your grandkids.

  6. Garrett says:


    Great article. It really does help to have facts behind this and you did a great job outlining key facts for us, aswell as adding your own intuition based on corroborating stories.

    I believe $ony is involved in his death upto the neck. It’s too convenient. If it’s true that AEG would get control of Michael’s musical assets if he couldn’t complete all 50 concerts (which he would never), then that leaves Sony high and dry. Without trying to sound too conspiratory, this whole thing just stinks of a planned execution to

    a) remove the artist out of the picture
    b) make billions from blood money
    c) gain complete control of that artist – after years of trying to do so.

    They HAVE made billions of dollars from blood money. They HAVE removed the artist and they HAVE gained complete control over him. What they could never do in their years of ownership, they accomplished in one prick of the needle. It was the perfect timing, the perfect setting and the perfect way to die. Michael was an addict, he just overdosed. Case closed… right? Wrong.

    When Katherine dies, $ony will come full circle and gain full control of the $ony/ATV catalogue. She’s the only reason it’s not already sold. These businesspeople, they’re ruthless. The AEG contract has nothing on $ony’s tactics to keep control – which they seemingly were about to lose – of the biggest artist in music history. Michael would never do business with them, he needed to be eliminated once and for all.

  7. An Marie says:


    Thank you sooo much for laying this out for us! You’ve compiled some really grrreat information.

    I’ve added this website to my blog 😉

    PS Yeah, Halperin is very creepy…

  8. TLS says:

    The only so-called “journalist” worse than Ian Halperin is Bashir. Everyone knows Diane Dimond is pure tabloid, but Halperin is given credibility by programs like 60 Minutes II. And Bashir’s elevation to supposedly hard news anchor makes my stomach churn. They’re all alike in their willingness to be unprofessional; Halperin has absolutely no compunction stating the most scandalous, unproven innuendos as fact. What kills me is that other, better journalists repeat it, lending credibility where there is none. I think Seven’s right–Halperin made a WAG and just happened to hit it.

  9. Seven says:

    Thanks Red,

    I really don’t think Halperin knew anything. I think it was a lucky guess. I’m one of those who do not trust him at all. And he was right there with his new book before Michael’s body was even cold. Creepy.

  10. Red_in_Phoenix says:

    Wow Seven. You really have outdone yourself with this one. BIG APPLAUSE right now. It’s a lot to take in and think about. I really wish someone would get to the bottom of why Tohme Tohme was at the hospital when Jermaine officially announced Michael’s death and why Tohme Tohme went to Carolwood and fired the staff. How did Tohme get in to Carolwood and who gave him authority to fire staff? Another thing that continues to bug me is that Ian Halperin predicted Michael’s death, saying at Christmas time 2008 that Michael would be dead in six months. He was off by only one day. I know that Halperin is not the most liked or trusted source about Michael and his life but he did poke his nose around all over the place to write his book about MJ. I don’t believe in coincidences so what is it the he overheard? Did he just speculate? Tohme Tohme vehemently denied Michael was ailing at the time Halperin made his comments but could he have know something more?

  11. gigi says:

    An Marie,

    I completely agree with what you said. This is something I say to myself all the time. There is no way in the world Michael could handle all the financial matters himself, with the income he generated and the businesses he started. Creative people are not all into money matters. I’m an visual artist myself (we’re right brain thinkers) To this day I still have a hard time placing a price on my artwork or how to handle the numbers and contracts. Michael had to hire money managers, but I say when a lot of people are that close to those kinds of finances some unfortunately start to put the “green paper” over the human being. Michael’s song M.O.N.E.Y says it all. People sold their souls going after money. They don’t care that they made their living/careers out of lying, slandering, suing or falsely accused Michael.

    I personally think Michael gave more a way to others that truly had a need. Shared with others combined with all the greedy people who robbed him more than Michael had ever spent on himself.

  12. Heidi says:

    Justice4MJJ: No one here is pointing fingers or blame as if Michael’s astute business savvy somehow failed and that is how he found himself in tremendous “debt.” The conspiracy to destroy him quite obviously stands as a separate entity from Michael’s abilities to create whatever he wanted, be it money or other. As someone so succinctly put it though, BECAUSE of the way he handled things, “debt” and “Michael Jackson” just don’t seem to fit within the same thought process. Truth be told, the financial affairs of Michael Jackson are actually none of any of our business.

  13. An Marie says:

    . . . (IMO) Michael was an outstanding “money-maker” just not a good money-manager, so I totally understand him hiring folks (albeit, the wrong folks) to manage his financial affairs.

    If there was a law that says you have to be both, I’d be in jail & you guys wouldn’t be reading my little post 😉

  14. An Marie says:

    Personally speaking, I make good money (for my position) – no I’m not rich/wealthy. However, when I look @ how much I make, my bills, how much I have saved…I’ve come to acknowledge the fact that I’m not a good money-manager. I’m a good “money-maker,” but that’s as far as it goes 🙁 I would love to have someone come along & tell me, “…w/all you make, I’ll manage it for you – put ‘X’ amount in your hands every week, pay the bills & keep you on budget – you just do your ‘creative thing.’ ” At first, I thought it was just laziness on my part, but then I realized – no, it’s just a matter of knowing your strengths & weaknesses. How old was Mike when he began handling his money? As a child, teenager….someone was always there, handling those matters for him. Micheal was a creative genius 🙂 ! Miss Katherine & even Joe, himself, have stated in many interviews, that for Mike, it was never about the money. As a child, he would spend his share on candy & sweets for the other kids in the neighborhood. He’d rather watch them enjoy themselves than spend the money on himself. Good grief! Can anyone say for sure how much he gave away? All we have is what’s been recorded. Does anyone know what “hasn’t been recorded??!” I think the true number would knock us into another galaxy!

    There’s a book called, “The Trials of Michael Jackson” by Lynton Guest. In it, Mr. Guest provides the reader w/excellent background information on how the plot against Michael first came into being. The information is wonderful & it’s not what you’d expect. It’s written using his knowledge & experience in the business, as well as Mr. Guest conducting his own research.

    Also, I remember reading something, too, about the fact that Santa Barbara County was upset that MJ was able to buy Neverland . . . something about them keeping it/getting it back to make it into some kind of nature trail/preserve area . . . ? I’m sorry, I can’t remember the specifics. I just remember reading it & thinking, “DANG! He just can’t have anything!”

  15. Justice4MJJ says:

    Another thing, people trying to tie in Michael’s business savvy, with the incredible conspiracy against him is absurd! You have to understand, that he was being plotted against since he got the catolog, by VERY powerful men & corporations, and he most likely was unware of their plot until the 93 allegations. So for one man, who is innocent to the huge machinations against him, while he is struggling against the world, trying to heal it and be happy/loved, how can we think he’d know that they’d have all these strings tied up—essentially, he was being coerced/plotted on by so many! Even the body guards said that after the 2005 trial he was STILL sued non-stop just like he was in the 1990’s! And most of the time they said he settled to avoid all the time/litigation, he just wanted a normal/happy life with his kids! So by the time we get to 2009 he is so vulnerable and trapped, they’ve all contributed to this, and he is stuck having to do this tour as a last way out! He might not have even known of the full extent (i.e. Barrack/CC) of each entity’s plans, but he had no friends, no one who could step in to save him, he was cut off from his $, no control over contracts, (i.e. Dileo signing deals on his behalf etc.) I put this question to people, COULD YOU handle all of this, could you be trying to out-think all of these evil, avarice people?! I certaintly would never have guessed this was happening if I was MJ!

  16. Sue M says:

    As always, Michael’s life leads us to the largest and most compelling issues of our time. His business relationship with Sony is no exception. The cynical and exploitative nature of this business deal is a revealing illustration of why corporate conglomerates kill innovation, stifle creativity and silence the voices we desperately need to hear.

    Though there has always been tension between creative people and management, there was a time when talent was nurtured, respected and given a place to incubate. The result was a spectacular flowering of music, movies, books, inventions and medical breakthroughs that changed the world. From the days of Thomas Edison to Michael Jackson, we’ve be thrilled, challenged, inspired and delighted at what an innovative mind can do when it is given support and encouragement.

    But when the bottom line becomes the Holy Grail, we’re all screwed. And that’s where we are today. Whether you’re an oil worker on a BP rig or the biggest pop star in the world, you’re merely a commodity to those that hold the strings. What is so infuriating is how shortsighted this thinking is from every perspective. Even if profits are your only motive, there was everything to gain by creating a nurturing and supportive environment for Michael. No one can begin to calculate the revenues his future projects would generate, not to mention the good will, inspiration and joy throughout the world.

    Because the most daring and innovative thinkers of our time are ignored, marginalized or exploited by corporate powers, we are left with a culture that insults our intelligence, denies our humanity and anesthetizes us to the point that we begin to think ho-hum is okay. We’re living with the absence of what should be – the news items we should be reading are missing, the music we should be hearing is missing, the movies, the books, the inventions, the medical breakthroughs – all missing. The inventive minds that could be filling this void too often end up doing Wall Street’s bidding, thanks to the financial bondage of student loans.

    And it’s not just creative people that suffer. The cynical calculation that went into writing Michael’s contract can be found in virtually every credit card contract. What you think is a fair and equitable deal is actually a financial time bomb over which you have no control. And like Michael, those who are caught in this kind of financial bondage are called crazy, excessive, irresponsible spenders who got what they deserved.

    Exposing the duplicitous business practices of Sony and all the other players in this tragic story is, as far as I’m concerned, a public service. I am so grateful for the vigilant, intelligent and measured coverage of this issue by Michael’s fans. Keeping on it is critical. As others have noted, the vulnerability Michael felt after the 1993 trial was seen by an army of conspirators as the opportune moment to implement a plan that maximized their self-interest. I think the economic collapse has left us with a similar vulnerability – depression, confusion, anger, shock, helplessness and lack of trust. And we should be aware of the jackals outside our door.