The families of the victims of the Astroworld festival disaster have hit out at Travis Scott after his first interview on the tragedy.
Scott spoke with Charlamagne Tha God in an interview posted on YouTube yesterday (December 9), saying only that he had a “responsibility to figure out what happened” when asked if he felt culpable for the disaster. Ten people died in a crush at the festival in Scott’s hometown of Houston during his headline performance on November 5.
“I’ve been on different types of emotions, an emotional rollercoaster,” said Scott during the 51-minute conversation. “It gets so hard because, you know, I always feel connected with my fans. I went through something and I feel like fans went through something and people’s parents went through something.”
“And it really hurts. It hurts the community, it hurts the city,” he added. “There’s been a lot of thoughts, a lot of feelings, a lot of grieving, and just trying to wrap my head around it.”
Scott had already been widely criticised for his handling of the tragedy. He continued to play his set even as fans climbed to the stage to warn him of the developing situation. Almost 300 lawsuits filed in Harris County, where the festival was held, name Scott as a plaintiff, with hundreds of people claiming to have been injured at the event.
In 11 different lawsuits so far, Scott has denied all allegations against him, with his legal representative saying he is likely to request further dismissals. In the talk with Charlamagne Tha God, Scott claimed to have stopped the concert several times over concerns for his fans’ welfare, and said he did not hear pleas to end the show entirely. “I stopped it a couple of times to just make sure everybody was OK,” Scott said. “And I really just go off the fans’ energy as a collective — call and response. I just didn’t hear that.”
A number of victims’ relatives have slammed Scott’s remarks. Jennifer Peña, who’s sister Ruby was among the dead, told Rolling Stone: “there’s videos of people telling him to stop this concert, and he didn’t. How could he not know? I still think he’s guilty in some sense, in my opinion. The first minute they told him to stop the concert early, he could have been like ‘Stop.’”
Tony Buzbee, a lawyer for the family of Axel Acosta, who was among the ten victims, added: “you don’t get to punt back responsibility somewhere else. These are lessons we learn as children. If he said, ‘I might not be solely the problem, and I’m not solely responsible but that my conduct played a part,’ that doesn’t alleviate the families of their pain, but it at least doesn’t cause any more. What he’s doing now is just causing people more pain.”
Houston Police Department are continuing their investigation into the tragedy. Claimants’ attorneys are doing likewise. Scott offered to pay the funeral costs of those who died at Astroworld, but at least five families have rejected his offer.