Is Travis Scott responsible for Astroworld deaths and injuries?
- Travis Scott, also known as Jacques Bermon Webster II, is a hip-hop music artist and producer known for his Auto-Tuned “half-sung/half-rapped vocal style.” His discography includes three studio albums, three mixtapes, and four extended plays, with Astroworld being his latest release in 2018.
- During Scott’s Astroworld Festival on Friday, November 5, 2021, eight people died and dozens were injured in a crowd surge. As of Monday, over a dozen lawsuits have been filed against Scott and the organizers of the concert.
- Scott vowed to refund concert-goers of Astroworld, cover the funeral costs of all victims, and partnered with BetterHelp to supply free therapy for those affected.
- Houston Police Chief Troy Finner had met with Scott before the concert to express his concerns for public safety. Troy said, “I asked Travis Scott and his team to work with HPD for all events over the weekend and to be mindful of his team’s social media messaging on any unscheduled events.”
- Scott was previously charged for “inciting riots” at musical festivals in Arkansas in 2017 and Chicago in 2015.
Travis Scott encourages wild behavior at his concerts, knowing full well it will probably cause injuries. He displays a reckless disregard for safety, authority, and crowd control. While some blame excited fans and rough lyrics for the fatalities, this couldn't be further from the truth. While a video has surfaced of Travis Scott pausing his performance once he saw an ambulance in the crowd, Scott urged the crowd to 'make the ground shake,' and the music continued for another half hour before he left the stage. This moment confirms a pattern of irresponsible and dangerous behavior displayed by the artist when it comes to putting his concert above his concertgoers.
As far back as 2015, Scott has encouraged erratic behavior that put concertgoers' safety in jeopardy. According to NBC Chicago, during his performance at Lollapalooza in 2015, Scott 'encouraged fans to vault security barricades.' While no injuries were reported, it was not due to the crowd control promoted by the artist. The NY Post reports that Scott pleaded guilty to inciting a riot at his 2017 concert at the Walmart Arkansas Music Pavilion, where several fans and a security guard were injured. Just weeks later, Kyle Greene was paralyzed at another 2017 Scott concert after the artist encouraged people to 'dive from the nosebleeds and let the crowd catch them,' according to Buzzfeed. A civil suit is still pending. This continuing disregard for safety led to the unnecessary fatality of eight innocent fans and one of the deadliest concert disasters in over four decades.
As a performer, it's not Travis Scott's job to watch out for people who willingly came to this concert. The security and staff are responsible for dealing with all the things that happen or could happen at concerts, including crowd wrangling and ensuring that nothing distracts the performer from doing what the festival-goers paid to see. In fact, Travis Scott is well-known for his wild and energetic stage performances, so this kind of activity shouldn't come as a surprise to those who attend his concerts or manage them. In addition, Astroworld is known to have been a sold-out show since its debut in 2018, with tickets selling out before the line-up announcement.
Sound and security people are the ones who were tasked with handling the crowds and had the issue of the crowd surge brought to their attention—Scott was busy performing, as he was meant to be. It was the sound and security people who were called out to by people in the crowd. Scott couldn't have been aware of the situation. When performing, it's nearly impossible for Scott to see into the crowd or hear individual people needing help when performing. How can anyone expect him to have heard that there was an issue? It's not right to judge, in hindsight, his response to a situation he wasn't aware of.
Despite not having any control over the situation, Scott sent out an apology and said he was going to work with the Houston Police Department to figure out what happened and prevent the situation from happening again. Per Scott’s apology video, he obviously feels terrible for the people who lost their loved ones as he later announced he would pay for the funerals of the fans who died. He clearly never intended one of his concerts to feature such a tragedy.