Newshound blog—MJ’s reluctance to do O2 arena announcement.
Since the death of Peter Lopez, MJ’s ex-lawyer, many people have been questioning the reasons for it. Many believe it was murder and NOT suicide. Apparently, Michael did NOT want to do the O2 concerts at all and this Peter Lopez, his lawyer, at the time, was trying to get him off… He was later fired but it is believed that MJ was not the one who fired him. Likely Tohme Tohme did, or someone from the management team. There is a strong belief that MJ was being controlled and forced into doing these concerts.And that Peter Lopez was killed because of his part in trying to help MJ out of those contracts.
I don’t necessarily share these views, simply because I don’t have enough information to form an opinion. I do question Peter Lopez’ death though… Something is not right there. But if his death is somehow connected with MJ, I really have no idea as to the reason. I find it improbable that he would be killed NOW for something he tried to help MJ with a year ago.Improbable, but not impossible. Just keeping an open mind to all possibilities…
Here is the complete post from the MJDHI forum which posted an article from Newshound blog (from UK in Spring 2009), talking about how MJ tried hard not to do the O2 announcement :
From heisinme09 from MJDHI forumBlog Entry #1
Here is a mention of Peter Lopez from a British blog called The Newshound….I’ll warn you in advance…this blog is NOT at all kind to Michael:***********************************************************
Sad but predictable news has reached the Newshound that Michael Jackson’s O2 negotiations have faltered for a third time.
Selected staff at Sony BMG’s London HQ had been briefed that Jackson would announce details of his O2 residency on Thursday morning.
Meanwhile, staff at the O2 arena were told over a week ago that the residency would be announced in a press conference on either Wednesday or Thursday of this week.
By midday on Thursday there was confusion at Sony HQ as to why the announcement had not been made. However, staff were reassured that the announcement would be made by the end of the day.
The announcement never came.
The Newshound is now hearing whispers that Jackson has fired Peter Lopez, the star’s music lawyer of several years. Lopez had been representing Jackson in negotiations surrounding the residency since they began in 2007.
Rumours of the lawyer’s dismissal are as yet unconfirmed and the reasons behind the alleged dismissal remain unclear.
The Newshound, however, will be so bold as to venture that should these rumours prove true, there is just one reason behind the decision.
Jackson is extremely work shy and has been since the late ninties. In 1999 the star signed contracts to perform two concerts at the turn of the millennium. However, Jackson failed to perform those concerts and never offered a legitimate reason as to why.
Jackson approached his next studio album, Invincible, so lazily that Sony rejected it in its original state. Insiders claim that Jackson was so addicted to alcohol and painkillers that friends and colleagues feared for his life. The star reportedly had no interest in the project, earning most of his songwriting credits by changing occasional words in other people’s compositions.
Prior to the album’s release, Jackson performed two largely mimed concerts in New York, infuriating producer David Gest by showing up high on painkillers.
The star went on to record one music video for Invincible but shunned all subsequent promotion, branding his record company ‘racist’.
Later, in a 2003 television special, the star declared that he hated touring.
In late 2003 Jackson struck a peace deal with Sony, agreeing to embark on a short European tour to promote his ‘Number Ones’ compilation album. However, it is worth noting that although Jackson technically agreed to the tour, he had already got wind of an impending child abuse allegation and hired Mark Geragos as his defence lawyer. As such, it could be the case that Jackson knew he would never have to fulfill that particular obligation.
Since his child molestation trial Jackson has promised charity singles, a music video and an album – and, more recently, claimed to be ‘finalising’ TV specials and a world tour. To date none of these projects, some of which date back to 2005, have ever seen the light of day.
No evidence exists to suggest that the star has completed any work on his new record apart from a lacklustre duet with Akon, featuring a vocal so half-hearted that Jackson could have recorded it in under an hour.
Jackson displayed further laziness early last year when he reneged on a deal with Sony to promote ‘Thriller 25’ at the Grammy Awards. The star was due to perform a live medley and then complete a backstage interview for the promotional podcast series known as the ‘Thrillercasts’.
Jackson angered Sony by failing to complete either activity and enraged Grammy organisers to such an extent that they cancelled an ‘all-star salute to the King of Pop’, despite having already advertised it on national television.
Sony sources also told the Newshound in late 2007 that Jackson had recently backed out of an X Factor appearance, claiming he had done so because the press had ‘ruined the surprise’.
During the last 18 months Jackson has become involved in serious discussions with AEG Live – promoters for the O2 arena – on three separate occasions; once in late 2007, once in early 2008 and once during the last fortnight.
It seems that firing Peter Lopez could be Jackson’s way of backing out for a third time, effectively killing the negotiations by removing his only point of contact. This would be typical of Jackson’s cowardly approach to dealing with problems, which tends to consist of either running away and leaving somebody else to clear up his mess or trying to place the blame on a third party. Or, quite often, both.
However, speculation is rife that the O2 has already booked dates for Jackson’s residency, with no concerts currently being marketed between July 6th and August 5th. Rumour also suggests that some papers could already have been signed, which – if true – could leave Jackson fighting one of the most intense legal battles of his career.
The future of Jackson’s O2 residency is unclear. The only certainty is that Sony employees and O2 employees were expecting an announcement on Wednesday or Thursday. That announcement never came. At the same time, the steady stream of leaked information has once again dried up, suggesting that negotiations have ceased.
More as and if the Newshound hears it.
Thursday, 26 February 2009
Jackson announcement this morning?
Sony sources are telling the Newshound that today (Thursday 26th February), at 9am GMT, an announcement regarding Michael Jackson’s O2 residency will be made via his official Sony website.
The Newshound must stress, though, that this may be misinformation.
For example, a year ago when rumours of an O2 residency were circulating, a high up Sony source told various fansites that the concerts were to go ahead. Plainly, the shows did not go ahead. This is just one of many instances of misinformation about Michael Jackson being distributed by authoritative sources.
In the world of Michael Jackson nothing is concrete until it is officially announced. Sometimes the star changes his mind on a whim. On other occasions people act beyond their briefs and leak information before it has been confirmed. Sometimes false information is intentionally leaked with the intent of distracting the press and public from ongoing negotiations. Other times high-ups float false information as part of a mole hunt – the aim is to discover and plug the leak.
The Newshound has decided to publish this breaking news as it was delivered directly by numerous Sony sources. However, there is every chance that for one of the aforementioned reasons, the announcement will not be made.
Fingers crossed, however.
Blog Entry #2
Here is the 2nd reference to Peter Lopez in the British Blog, The Newshound which may provide a timeline of when Lopez stopped working for Michael…this comes from a British blog site, written April 15, 2009 in regard to background of the This Is It O2 Press Conference:
In the world of Michael Jackson, onlookers must often wait for the dust to settle before events become clear. The star is eratic, his plans are rarely concrete and his motivation is often beyond comprehension.
Events surrounding Jackson’s press conference last month were typically baffling, but the Newshound is now able to shed some light on the confusion that surrounded the announcement of his London concerts.
In February the Newshound became the first journalist to break news of Michael Jackson’s summer residency. Shortly afterwards, the Newshound received information from Sony and O2 sources that a press conference would take place on Thursday 26th February.
The date came and went and the Newshound’s sources were bemused. At the time, it was speculated that company heads could have leaked the wrong date as a diversionary tactic.
The Newshound can now reveal that this was not the case – Jackson really was due to announce the concerts on Thursday 26th February.
Sources involved in organising funding and sponsorship for the concerts say the star is a ‘loose cannon’ who simply failed to show up in London at the appointed time.
Jackson fired lawyer Peter Lopez early in the week that the announcement had been scheduled, leaving organisers unable to contact him and forcing them to scrap their plans.
When concert promoters eventually contacted Jackson through his manager, Dr Tohme Tohme of Colony Capital, the press conference was rescheduled for the following week.
When anxious organisers received word that Jackson had boarded his flight to London on Tuesday 3rd March, a source contacted the Newshound to leak the star’s arrival time and accommodation details. Organisers also ensured that news was leaked to Jackson’s many fansites.
Those responsible claimed to be leaking the information on Jackson’s behalf, saying that the star wanted his fans to greet him upon his arrival.
This later proved untrue – Jackson hid behind an umbrella at the airport and entered his hotel through a back door, shunning the fans who organisers had urged to wait outside the hotel all afternoon.
The true reason for the leak was that the previous week’s event had served as a stark reminder to concert organisers that Jackson is entirely unreliable.
In an act of desperation, information was leaked to the Newshound and to the fan community in the hope that the mainstream press would pick up on it. If the press caught Jackson sneaking into the country, thought the organisers, there was no way he could pull out of the press conference and sneak back out again.
It was The Sun who delivered the golden egg, capturing long lens photographs of Jackson exiting his private jet at Mohammed Al Fayed’s private airstrip.
The Newshound can today reveal that despite having been captured on camera arriving in London, Jackson still attempted to pull out of his press conference.
The Newshound was issued accreditation for the press conference and so was stuck in the holding pen, otherwise known as the Indigo2 nightclub inside the O2 complex, as a drama secretly unfolded at Jackson’s hotel.
As the appointed time of 4pm drew closer, press and photographers grew ever more anxious: Why were they not being allowed into the foyer for the announcement? Annoyed snappers and reporters began gathering at the nightclub doors, much to the chagrin of PR staff.
“Nothing will be happening for at least twenty minutes,” press were told, “so you may as well sit down.” Twenty minutes soon became thirty, then forty. Forty minutes became an hour.
Press were eventually led into the arena at around 4.30pm, after relieved PR staff received confirmation that Jackson had finally left his hotel. The star would later appear onstage at 5.30pm, an hour and a half late.
The official reason for Jackson’s lateness was that he had become stuck in traffic en route to the O2 complex.
This story was later contradicted by reports that before Jackson took the stage for his announcement, he became the first person to walk around the O2’s new exhibition, the ‘British Music Experience’.
This was self-serving spin designed to accomplish two goals. The first was to give the impression that Jackson had been at the O2 centre all along, distracting press from the real reason for his lateness, and the second was to shamelessly promote the complex’s latest attraction.
In fact, both stories are easily disproved.
When Jackson left his hotel for the press conference he was, as usual, accosted by a mob of fans and photographers.
Photographers snapped the star leaving his hotel at approximately 4.15pm – a quarter of an hour after he was supposed to have taken the stage. He wasn’t stuck in traffic and he wasn’t walking around an exhibition – he hadn’t even left his hotel.
The Newshound can exclusively reveal that Jackson had barricaded himself in his hotel room and spent several hours refusing to attend the press conference. Minders were forced to stand in the hotel corridor and plead with him through the door to his room. By the time he was persuaded to leave, he was already significantly late for the announcement. Meanwhile, at the O2, PR staff were becoming concerned and irritable.
Once at the O2 Jackson remained reluctant to take the stage. After Dermot O’Leary introduced the star, it was several minutes before he eventually stepped through the curtains. Footage of the press conference on the star’s official website was later edited to give the impression that he had sauntered immediately onstage.
When Jackson did take the stage he abandoned his teleprompter and gave a disjointed speech. Rather than the upbeat concert announcement fans had expected, they were instead subjected to a rambling retirement announcement in which Jackson sounded audibly irritated by the fact that he was to perform again, sternly informing the audience, “This is the final curtain call, OK?”
Caitlin Moran later wrote of the event, “He seems borderline tetchy about being here at all… It sounds like a weary warning. I will not be performing for you now, is the subtext. I will give you nothing else… After announcing that that the concerts will be in July, and that he loves us all so, Jackson is gone – giving four minutes to people who have been waiting five hours, and 12 years, and a lifetime.”
After Jackson left the stage one young female follower was carried from the building, sobbing that Jackson had sounded angry with his fans.
Reports suggested that Jackson later returned to his hotel drunk and complaining loudly about the prospect of his live comeback.
Since Jackson’s announcement British tabloids have been awash with stories surrounding the upcoming concerts. These have included stories about four separate properties Jackson will supposedly live in (Rod Stewart’s Essex mansion, a house on the Thames so he can travel to the concerts by boat, a castle built atop a network of haunted caves and a private house in suburban East London), stories about Jackson hiring David Copperfield to help orchestrate magic tricks, and suggestions that Jackson will enter the stage astride an elephant.
The Newshound can reveal that most, if not all of these stories, are false – but they are not the concoctions of tabloid reporters. The stories are in fact being systematically planted on an almost daily basis by concert promoters AEG Live, who have developed an obsession with keeping the concerts in the headlines.
The reason? Although the official line is that all of the concerts are sold out, the company is facing a ticketing crisis.
Just days after the concerts were announced, ‘The Times’ revealed that AEG Live had secretly given up to 1000 tickets per concert to commercialised touting company Viagogo. The tickets would be sold at inflated prices on the condition that both companies shared the profits.
At the time a spokesperson defended the move, saying, “To suggest that there won’t be a premium market is unrealistic.” Indeed. But isn’t that why several blocks of seats at each concert were reserved for £800-a-ticket premium packages?
After reserving several blocks per show for official premium packages and donating up to a further 1000 tickets per show to Viagogo, almost 10% of all seats for the residency were being sold for hugely inflated prices. That is without taking into account the number of business-minded buyers who snaffled tickets in the official sales with the specific intention of re-selling them for several times their face value on Ebay.
Consequently, although the shows are officially billed as ‘sold out’, somewhere in the region of 50,000-100,000 tickets currently remain onsale in the form of VIP packages on Ticketmaster, overpriced tickets on Seatwave and Viagogo and countless tickets being touted on Ebay.
AEG now has a dilemma on its hands. The company has fallen victim to its own greed. Bosses accurately predicted that the shows would be immensely popular and would sell out, leaving a huge excess demand. What they over-estimated, however, was the number of people who could actually afford to pay hundreds of pounds for a concert ticket.
As Britain slips deeper into recession, the number of punters with hundreds or, in many cases, thousands of pounds to spare for one pair of Michael Jackson tickets is dwindling and the Newshound is skeptical as to whether, even at the height of the economic boom, there were ever 50,000 people who would be willing to splash that much cash on a night out.
AEG’s reaction has been to release a steady stream of false stories to the popular press in an attempt to keep the concerts on everybody’s lips but, publicity or no publicity, the public simply cannot afford the extortionate Viagogo prices.
If sales of premium tickets remain slow, organisers face the prospect of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of empty seats at each of the 50 concerts. Worse still, some of the empty seats will be directly in front of the stage. Ironically, had the seats been included in the general sale they would have sold out immediately. As it stands, inflating the ticket prices has actually cost company bosses significant profits – not exactly the desired effect.
A final note from the Newshound on Jackson’s father, who has recently hit headlines fo attempting to stage a coup and oust his son’s current management. Reports suggest that Joseph Jackson emailed media outlets and fansites two weeks ago claiming he had assumed control of his son’s affairs.
The 79 year old was reportedly hoping to cut himself in on Jackson’s 50 nights in London and convince the star to piggyback a Jacksons reunion tour on his own solo success.
The debacle led to the publication of a strange article by Celebrity Access wich seemed to quote Frank Dileo claiming to be Jackson’s manager. This is not the case. Jackson is still managed by Dr Tohme Tohme and Colony Capital, but that Dileo is speaking on Jackson’s behalf is an interesting development. The Newshound revealed in April of last year that Dileo was becoming a more regular fixture in Jackson’s camp.
The Newshound can reveal that Joseph Jackson has been trying to worm his way back into his son’s affairs ever since he learnt that the O2 deal was being finalised. Jackson was sticking his nose in so regularly that staff involved in fundraising for the Jackson concerts believed he was integral to the deal. Jackson told them he was also arranging a Jacksons reunion concert to compliment the residency. Rumour was that a Jacksons concert at Wembley Stadium would be announced in early April, but evidently that did not happen.
The Newshound wonders, though, whether there may be some truth to the rumour. The Jacksons were involved in negotiations for a Wembley Stadium concert in Summer 2007 but the deal was never finalised. Reminiscent indeed of the O2 residency, which was first discussed over 18 months before it finally came to fruition.
As is always the case where Michael Jackson is concerned, only time will tell.