A number of the families of victims from the Astroworld tragedy have rejected Travis Scott’s offers to cover funeral expenses.
The families of at least five of the ten victims have refused, according to Rolling Stone. The family of Ezra Blount, who at nine years old was the youngest victim of the tragedy, told Rolling Stone they wouldn’t be accepting the offer.
Now, reps for four more of the families have said that they won’t accept it.
Essentially, the families’ attorneys are arguing that the funeral expense offer was a way for Scott to save face publicly instead of actually taking accountability for the events.
The festival, which took place on November 5, has been described as a “mass casualty event”. Witnesses described violent crowd surges where people were crushed. At the time, it was reported that around 11 people were taken to hospital with cardiac arrest and 300 were treated at a hospital on scene.
10 people have died as a result of the event, with ages ranging from nine to 27 years old.
Ezra Blount’s father’s lawyer Robert C. Hilliard wrote a scathing letter in response to Scott’s lawyer Daniel Petrocelli, outlining the family’s stance.
According to emails seen by Rolling Stone, Petrocelli wrote to Hilliard in an email that “Travis is devastated by the tragedy that occurred at the Astroworld Festival and grieves for the families whose loved ones died or were injured.
“Travis is committed to doing his part to help the families who have suffered and begin the long process of healing in the Houston community.”
He said Scott would like to pay for funeral expenses.
Hilliard replied, “Your client’s offer is declined. I have no doubt Mr. Scott feels remorse. His journey ahead will be painful.
“He must face and hopefully see that he bears some of the responsibility for this tragedy.”
Rolling Stone said a representative for Scott declined to comment for the story.
Richard Mithoff, who’s representing 14 year old John Hilgert’s family, told Rolling Stone that “of all the things this case is about, that’s the least of any concern. This family is set on making change and ensuring this never happens at a concert again.
“I find offering to pay for funerals frankly demeaning and really inappropriate to the magnitude of the tragedy that unfolded.”
Hilgert’s father Chris said in another statement that the family’s “sole aim in filing this lawsuit is to prevent this type of tragedy from ever happening again at a live concert”.
A significant level of criticism has centred around Scott’s decision to announce the original offer to pay for funeral expenses in a public press release. At the time, the statement said: “these are the first of many steps Travis plans on taking as a part of his personal vow to assist those affected throughout their grieving and recovery process”.
Scott also partnered with a mental health app called BetterHelp to give survivors of Astroworld one free month of counselling. The collab was swiftly criticised, with many pointing out that one free month of internet counselling probably isn’t an adequate response to being involved in a “mass casualty event” where 10 people were killed.
Tony Buzbee, one of the other attorneys who spoke to Rolling Stone, is representing the family of Axel Acosta, a 21 year old who was killed.
“It’s bullshit. If you gave a shit about these families, you wouldn’t have to put out a press release for everyone to see saying he’s willing to pay for a funeral.
“He says he feels sorry for them but he’s quick to say it wasn’t his fault. He’s no different than any defendant pointing fingers to someone else,” Buzbee said.
“They don’t want funeral expenses from him. Whatever we get from him we’re going to get through the court system.”
According to CHRON, there’s now been over 120 lawsuits filed in Harris Country against Scott and the festival promoters, Live Nation.