The book starts with Andy Picheta writing "For the fans of Michael: You were right". And yeah we were right as you will see when you read through what I wrote below.
the idea of the tribute was introduced by Jeffre Phillips - Latoya's boyfriend and their company Ja-Tail was behind it.
They had high expectations for the tribute concert with high attendance, Live Broadcast, DVD and Cinema releases and such and hoped to bypass "This is it" Movie revenues ($400 Million).
They selected the location as UK to benefit from tax relief and Cardiff was selected because initially Wembley was booked and Cardiff was cheaper. Another reason for the selection of UK is due to the different copyright laws.
GLE consisted of Christ Hunt and Michael Henry and Jeffre Phillips. Jeffre actually owned the 80% of GLE. Although Jeffre was behind this he wanted to stay anonymous because he said if Jackson brothers knew his involvement they would never sign up for it - because Latoya would be earning more than they did.
The book says it was hard to get Jermaine to sign up because he saw himself as the patriarch of the family and wanted to be the one that does the tribute and wanted more payment. Of course the rest wouldn't agree to this.
Leonard Rowe enters into the picture with promises of many A-list artists that are ready to sign such as Prince, Madonna, Lady Gaga, Elton John etc. Later on they would find out that some these weren't even approached.
As they don't have money , they look for investors. Investors say they would only sponsor this event if Jackson brothers, Janet Jackson and 3 A-list name was guaranteed. Of course they can never get that. Later on another firm would invest 5 Million pounds into the event , mainly due to the hopes to broadcast it.
From the start they are aware of the image and likeliness issues and that they can't use "Michael Jackson" name, that's the reason the event is called "Forever Michael". Also due to consumer protection laws they cannot get ticket money after the show. In order to generate funds they come up with ticket price + charity donation so that they can get the charity donations and use it and later on replace it with the income earned.
As they had high expectations they decide to put the stage on the middle of the stadium and increase the attendance rates. They wanted to beat U2's record of highest attendance and hoped to get 80,000 people to attend. They also come up with the idea that the stage to be shaped as a glove which becomes highly problematic and inconvenient for performance wise.
Their expert consultants and Picheta believed the ticket prices to be too high but Chris Hunt believed the price to be okay for a "once in a lifetime" event and believed even if the fans didn't have the money they could find it.
Initially they planned to do the concert on August 27 but due to the above (not having funding, not even being to able to sign Jacksons or any other artist etc., not being ready) the concert is moved to October 8th. They wanted to do it before the weather was too cold, and they wanted to do it in 2011. The preparations were rushed too.
They never considered the trial date because they didn't think it would happen. According to Jeffre and Latoya's conspiracy claims someone high in the food chain came to Michael's house half and hour before Michael came from rehearsal, he waited for Michael and when he came they talked. 30 minutes after he left Murray found Michael dead (which would make it around 2 AM and which is totally contracting with Murray's versions and time of death). They believed Murray to be the fall guy and the evil forces wouldn't like Murray to go through a trial and the secrets to be spilled. So according to them Murray would cop a plea without seeing a courtroom and the evil forces would pay nicely him for being a patsy. Therefore the trial would never happen so it was a non-issue.
Picheta - "We set the date, not deliberately to coincide with the trial, but in the belief the trial would actually never happen"
Also apparently Michael told Latoya and everyone else that he didn't have a will and he wanted to die intestate so that everything he has would go to his kids directly. ( Note : Dying intestate would have make the Jacksons first in line to be the Executors and kids have access to the money at a quite early age. I have to say it makes to access to the money quite easier than the current will / trust)
One day before the announcement GLE only had secured the stadium, 3 Jackson brothers, Latoya and Katherine. No other artist was signed.
Picheta writes this about before the announcement "in two hours we will enter the perfect shit-storm of shit, and we will never emerge." - well that sums it right
They start trying to sign the artists after the announcement. They had set an appearance on CNN with Katherine and they needed a name to announce. One manager says he can guarantee Kiss. So Kiss is announced. Even after the backlash they try to talk to Gene Simmons and get him to issue and apology so that everyone can kiss and make up.
Black Eyed Peas ask for $ 2 Million but later decide to not perform and return the $2 Million.
Both fans letter and Estate's letter is mentioned and he also mentions how their response wasn't picked up by the media. He also mentioned how the fans started digging information about their backgrounds and they wanted to remain anonymous , remove their names from websites, press releases and such.
Picheta says GLE never contacted the Estate or never considered it, they used all the available loopholes (such as doing the concert in UK).
The talks with the fan clubs - only 3 - and Gaz's phone call with them is also mentioned. Picheta tells that he told Gaz the trial wouldn't happen (due to the above conspiracy version) and Gaz tells him " You are dreaming".
After a week they had only sold 327 tickets. They were selling 12 to 20 tickets per day. By the concert date they would have sold around 20,000 tickets - 1/4 th of what they aimed for.
I don't understand the UK copyright law but a licence they needed to perform /air the songs were expired. Some songs could be performed under a blanket licence fee and some could only be performed with the copyright holder authorized the performance. For example Rod Temperton did not allow Thriller to be performed. Warner Chappell moves for an emergency order due to unauthorized use of their songs (they used to administer Mijac) and stops the live broadcast. Later half the songs performed would not be releasable on a DVD or a TV broadcast without approval of Warner Chappell.
Concert happens but of course it's not profitable. A lot of people are not paid including some of the artists. Basically if a person did not ask for a up front payment, they didn't get paid. TMZ's story about plane ticket costs not being paid and the travel company cancelling Jacksons tickets turn out to be true. There are also a lot of suspicious activities start to go on. For example the $2 Million paid to Black Eyed Peas by the investors is returned to GLE - Chris Hunt. Chris Hunt and Michael Henry leave GLE on the day of the concert, the rights of the concert is transferred from GLE to another entities, some people leave with cash ticket sales, Chris Hunt using other business entities makes creditor claims etc.
At this time the only ongoing deal is with Sky TV in regards to airing the show on TV at a later date. Sky TV initially going to pay 2 Million pounds which was later reduced to 70,000 pounds. The main investor (the one who gave 5 million pounds) go to court and get an injunction to cancel Sky TV broadcast. Of course by this time seeing all the suspicious activities they are worried and they want the rights to the concert.
This investor also doesn't believe that airing it on Sky TV is the best thing as it would diminish the cinema and dvd revenues. They want to talk to MJ Estate, Warner Chappell and MJ fans and get them on board to be able to release it as a DVD. Chris Hunt on the other hand want nothing to do with MJ Estate, wants to cut Warner Chappell songs and replace those with Michael home videos owned by Jeffre.
Long story short the investor wins their lawsuit against GLE , Chris Hunt and Michael Henry. Currently they own the concert rights. Court said Chris Hunt and Michael Henry are dishonest and deceitful as they took money and tried to take the concert. Hunt's a second company is in liquidation. Many people haven't been paid and it's unlikely that they would ever get paid.
The end of the book says
"She wants to give the film to Prince and Paris, so they can make it into their own tribute to their father. Maybe then, the fans will accept those Cardiff performances, orchestrated by Ron Weisner, for what they are, pure tributes to the musical memory of the world’s greatest pop star. Maybe the children, once used by Jeffré and Chris and Michael Henry to give credence to a malformed project built on greed, are the only ones who can wash the stench of deceit from it and turn it into something worthwhile, meaningful and pure. Something Michael would actually support."
Below is Nadia1981's summary
- Chris Hunt met Jeffré Phillips (boyfriend of Latoya and ceo of Ja-Tail) in 2002/2003 with plans of making a positive documentary about MJ as a response to Bashir’s one.
- Jeffré delivered an interiew with Katherine Jackson and promised to get MJ to do an exclusive interview too. Of course he failed in that.
- Hunt never gets approval to use images, music, video, … belonging to MJ but he goes ahead anyway and wait out if he gets sued. Apparently he has done that before, but usually working with classical music and artist he rarely gets to court because of lack of money by the artists. In this case in backfires in the end.
- After the Neverland raid the documentary ‘The Michael Jackson Story’ was pulled and MJ was never involved with it.
- After MJ’s death, Jeffré once again contacted Chris Hunt for a tribute concert. He says he loved MJ so much that he spend a whole week at his house, after he passed, to keep it safe from ‘bad people’. He said he could deliver the Jacksons and a whole lot of A-list stars.
- They created Global Live with ceo’s being Jeffré (holds also a 80% stake in it), Chris Hunt and a lawyer.
- Jeffré wants to keep his involvement quiet because he fears he will never get the brothers on board if they even think they would get less than Latoya. When the event comes closer he’s asking to postpone the whole thing but Hunt says they can’t do that, legal fees/battles would be the end of them.
- Chris Hunt really thinks he’s helping Katherine and the kids fighting against the Estate/AEG. Jeffré keeps filling his head with fake stories and conspiracy stuff. (at some point Leonard Rowe gets involved with this tribute too). Apparently Hunt even mentioned a specific name as to who killed Michael (and no, not Murray) but the Picheta doesn’t name him/her saying he will probably get sued if he does.
- Jeffré is in charge of getting the a-list superstarts: Beyoncé, Bruno Mars, Britney Spears, Madonna, Enrique Iglesias, Lady Gaga, Rod Stewart, Rihanna, Elton John, Lenny Kravitz, Sting, Mick Jagger, Mary J. Blige, Jennifer Hudson, Taylor Swift, Celine Dion, Tina Turner, Ne-Yo, Chris Brown, Pink, R. Kelly, usher, Christina Aguilera, Justin Timberlake, Stevie Wonder, Shakira and Prince. More would follow.
- First the tribute is set to be around MJ birthday, but later postponed due to lack of organisation. They never considered it would coincide with the trial because as good conspiracy theorists, they didn’t believe there would even be a trial seeing Murray obviously was only a fall guy and would take a plea bargain in all quietness.
- They have a meeting with Ticketmaster to discuss selling tickets through them. However Ticketmaster wants to hold on to the ticket revenue in case the show get cancelled, or artist cancell or people asking their money back. Ticketmaster is surprised GLE is in need of the money right away to stage the show.
- There is a lot of discussion about the high prices but Chris Hunt doesn’t want to lower them. In fact they come up with this bidding system to avoid tickets being sold through secondary market. And they are depending on the charity donations to pay for the concert and the ticket reveneus at the end of the concert would be given to charity. The expectations were that charity donations would be more than the tickets itselves.
- End of June and still no artist signed (except for the 3 brothers, Katherine), still no website, still no definite stage and seating plan, no sponsors, … Jeffré insist everthing’s gonna be okay, he will make a huge announcement about the headliners and the concerts is gonna be the greatest ever.
- When they did the press conference, they still didn’t have any artists signed.
- Of course Chris Hunt blames the Estate for the fans’ critizism.
- The LA team was in charge of signing the artists and managing the website and facebookpage. Eventually, the UK team takes over but gives up quickly.
- One of the LA people is good friends with a iconic rock manager, who offered one of his bands and they accepted. The KISS disgrace is born.
- They thought a statement from Gene Simmons that MJ was a lovely guy and he was a big fan would fix everything. Picheta disagreed and told them to unsign the band immediately. For once they listened to him. Too little too late and fan communities and Estate decided to release the well known open letters.
- (I don’t like that he’s hinting that the fans reacted because the Estate asked them to. He did that with some FB comments on the Michael Forever page too, questioning if it came from the Estate => “but the fact they (the Estate) weighed in, and probably assisted the fan clubs to orchestrate their response”)
- Lol, in light of the negative response towards signing KISS, they weren’t sure if Jamie Foxx as a host would be a good idea. So the LA team went to a show of Chris Tucker, pitched the idea to who they thought was Chris’s manager but turned out to be Jamie Foxx’s manager. They managed to calm Jamie Foxx down and he stayed on board.
- Picheta wonders why the fans are against the Michael Forever tribute but don’t have any problems with Cirque du soleil, which is to premier during the trial too or Thriller Live, already running for 2+ years. The fans saw a non-estate project as illegal, the law however said otherwise.
- Picheta wanted to reach out to the Estate, maybe try to get them on board. Hunt refused.
- A few weeks before the event, they were still begging for money because with all the hoopla a lot of artists wanted to be paid up front but they didn’t have the cash. Eventually they get cash from an hedgefond investment.
- Picheta mentions the phone calls he had with different MJ fan sites and how he failed at reassuring the fans.
- A week into the sales and only 327 tickets sold. The upper tier is being withdrawn from ticket sales. They sell a maximum of 20 tickets a day.
- There were deals made with hotels and british airways, but because they didn’t get paid nor get the names of the passenger, those fell through (Jackson family wanted over 55! First class tickets.)
- Some of MJ’s songs are published by Warner Chappell,(licenced under MiJac and therefor part of the Estate) filed an injuction - claiming breech of copyright - to stop the show. In court they compromised that the show could go on but there would be no live-to-air transmission. They didn’t have the proper licence to broadcast some of the other songs either. So the plan was to cut those songs out and replace them with MJ home video’s owned by Jeffré.
- The day before and day of the show, they are handing out free tickets. The golden circle and front of the stage, which hardly sold any tickets, are being filled up by letting people in from the back.
- The hedgefund that invested money at the last minute comes after the film claiming it is theirs. They also sequester the GLE bank account so they can’t get to the money and a lot of people remain unpaided, as is Picheta. The matter is taken to court and in the meantime Hunt was barred from exploiting the film. The hedgefund says they want the endorsement and support of the Estate, Warner Chappel and the MJ community to provide Michael’s children with a tribute to be proud of. The hedgefund wins on all counts. Jeffré disappeared as quickly as he appeared and nobody has heard from him since.