Listen to this article here
Rapper Travis Scott has been exonerated of any criminal liability by a Texas grand jury concerning the tragic incident at the Astroworld music festival in 2021. District Attorney Kim Ogg publicly announced that the grand jury, after careful deliberation, chose not to pursue criminal charges against Scott and five other individuals connected to the event.
Ogg expressed her condolences for the devastating loss of 10 lives and numerous injuries, emphasizing that not all tragedies fall within the realm of criminal or homicidal acts. She also clarified that the grand jury’s decision does not impede the ongoing civil lawsuits related to the incident.
The disastrous event unfolded on November 5, 2021, at Houston’s NRG Park, where approximately 50,000 attendees gathered for the Astroworld music festival. As the crowd surged towards the stage, 10 individuals, ranging from 14 to 27 years old, including 9-year-old Ezra Blount, tragically lost their lives due to compression asphyxia. Furthermore, nearly 2,400 people required medical attention.
Attorney for Travis Scott argued he was mischaracterized
According to Kent Schaffer, Scott’s legal representative, the depiction of Scott’s involvement in the incident has been inaccurate. In the immediate aftermath of the incident, numerous attendees of the music festival shared their experiences on social media, expressing difficulties in breathing and criticizing Scott for not taking more action to calm the crowd and advocate for individuals needing medical attention.
Videos and photographs from the festival depict Scott continuing to perform despite the presence of multiple ambulances in the crowd as well as individuals climbing onto the stage, pleading for help and urging him to stop the show. Schaffer clarified that Scott paused the performance on multiple occasions and maintained that he was unaware of the severity of the situation.
Responding to the district attorney’s announcement, Schaffer conveyed his confidence in Scott’s exoneration, emphasizing that these types of reports consistently attribute responsibility for safety crises at events to organizers, operators, and contractors, rather than performers.
Lawsuits continue against Scott, Live Nation
According to NBC News, Schaffer remarked, “Today’s decision by the Harris County District Attorney confirms what we have known all along — that Travis Scott is not responsible for the Astroworld tragedy.”
Despite the grand jury’s decision to absolve Scott of criminal responsibility, many individuals express their dissatisfaction. Over 500 lawsuits have been filed against Scott and the entertainment company Live Nation, including a suit from the Blount family, who lost their beloved Ezra.
Robert Hilliard, the attorney representing Ezra Blount’s family, expressed disappointment with the grand jury’s ruling. Hilliard asserted that there is compelling evidence of guilt and negligence that led to the loss of lives and serious injuries.
The family intends to pursue legal action, believing that presenting the substantial evidence surrounding the tragedy could yield a significant verdict against the defendants in a Harris County jury trial.
NBC News quoted Hilliard stating, “Ezra Blount’s family will continue and wait for their day in court. A Harris County jury, once given an opportunity to see the damning evidence leading up to causing this tragedy, may very well return a record Texas verdict against these defendants.”
Travis Scott seeks return to normalcy
Kevin Haynes, also disappointed with the verdict, remains committed to ensuring justice for the affected families and individuals. Haynes is an attorney for Kherkher Garcia LLP, a law firm dedicated to advocating for hundreds of individuals who sustained injuries at the Astroworld music festival.
Critics, including both festival attendees and external observers, argue that Scott demonstrated a lack of empathy during the performance and in the apology video he released in 2021.
These strong negative sentiments surrounding Travis Scott and the Astroworld music festival have prompted many to rally behind the victims in their pursuit of justice, with some even advocating for a boycott of his music.
Schaffer, Scott’s attorney, acknowledges the significant impact of this negative press on Scott’s career over the past year and a half, leading to missed opportunities. Schaffer expresses hope that, now that a verdict has been reached, Scott can begin to regain some sense of normalcy.