Travis Scott lawyers say he wasn't responsible for safety at Astroworld concert - Hindustan Times
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Travis Scott lawyers say he wasn't responsible for safety at Astroworld concert

AP |
Apr 16, 2024 05:14 PM IST

Travis Scott's attorneys said his duties were outlined as performing, marketing, curating talent, and providing for his own personal security.

Attorneys for rap star Travis Scott argued in court Monday that he should be dismissed from hundreds of lawsuits filed over the deadly 2021 Astroworld festival, saying he was not responsible for safety planning and watching for possible dangers at the Houston event. (Also Read – 10 dead in 2021 Astroworld festival: Why Drake's name was dismissed, but Apple Inc's and Travis Scott's wasn't)

Travis Scott's attorneys say he wasn't responsible for safety at 2021 Astroworld concert(AFP)
Travis Scott's attorneys say he wasn't responsible for safety at 2021 Astroworld concert(AFP)

But attorneys for relatives of one of the 10 people killed during a massive crowd surge at the festival said Scott ignored safety concerns and threatened to release online the personal information of anyone who would cancel the event over safety concerns.

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Stephen Brody, an attorney for Scott, said the rap star remains “devastated” and “heartbroken” by the tragic events of November 5, 2021, when authorities and festival organisers tried to shut down the show and stop the surge.

The families of the 10 people who died, as well as hundreds who were injured, sued Scott and Live Nation — the festival’s promoter — as well as dozens of other individuals and entities.

During a court hearing before state District Judge Kristen Hawkins, Brody argued that Scott and his touring and production company, XX Global, should be dismissed from the case. They said his duties and responsibilities related to the festival were outlined as performing, marketing, curating talent for the event, providing for his own personal security and approving all creative matters involving the festival. “And that’s it,” Brody said.

During the concert, Scott, whose real name is Jacques Bermon Webster II, did stop his performance four times to check on issues he saw in the crowd, including some people who appeared to be in distress, according to Brody.

“Did he have show pause authority?” Hawkins asked Brody. He could stop performing and wait to see if an issue of concern had been resolved, Brody said.

But Brody added the festival’s organisers as well as Houston police also had the ability to turn on the lights or cut off the sound if they thought something was wrong.

Noah Wexler, an attorney for the family of Madison Dubiski, 23, said Scott’s contract defined him as a co-promoter of the festival with Live Nation and as a promoter, he was responsible for the event’s safety under Texas rules.

Wexler alleged that Scott in a May 5, 2021 tweet, that was sent after tickets for Astroworld had sold out, instigated his fans to on the day of the show break into the festival grounds, writing, “we still sneaking the wild ones in.”

Wexler said this created dangerous conditions for a festival that was “massively oversold” and was part of a “conscious disregard for safety.”

Wexler alleged that Scott and his manager, David Stromberg, created dangerous safety conditions by insisting that Scott be the only musical act to use the main stage on the festival’s first day, a situation that could create crowd flow problems. Scott and Stromberg were also accused of threatening to dox any festival organisers who would cancel the show over safety concerns.

In a deposition, Stromberg said his doxxing comments were a joke made in “poor taste.”

Brody said safety concerns raised over Scott being the only person to use the main stage were fixed.

Wexler also accused Scott and his team backstage of ignoring orders from festival organisers to stop the concert at 10 p.m.

In a deposition, Scott said he was never told as he was onstage that there were people in the crowd who were dead and he needed to stop the show at 10 p.m.

Scott said he was told to end the show after hip-hop guest artist Drake performed. The concert didn’t end until 10:12 p.m.

“It’s one of the worst days for not just me but for a lot of people, families, the city. It was just – it was just a bad day overall,” Scott said in a deposition in September.

Attorneys for other individuals and companies tied to the festival also asked Hawkins on Monday to be dismissed from the case. Hawkins was expected to issue a ruling on Scott's motion and the others at a later date.

Last week, Hawkins dismissed lawsuits against Drake and several other individuals and companies involved in the show.

After an investigation by Houston police, no charges were filed against Scott and a grand jury declined to indict him and five other people on any criminal counts related to the deadly concert.

Those killed, who ranged in age from 9 to 27, died from compression asphyxia, which an expert likened to being crushed by a car.

The lawsuit filed by Dubiski’s family is set to be the first one to go to trial on May 6.

Some of the lawsuits filed by the families of the dead and the hundreds who were injured have been settled, including those filed by the families of four of the dead.

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