It’s been over four months since the deadly Astroworld Festival tragedy that claimed the lives of 10 people, including 9-year-old Ezra Blount. Since then, festival founder Travis Scott has racked up hundreds of lawsuits from the victims’ families and other concert attendees totaling in the billions.
But according to Billboard, attorneys for some of those impacted by the tragic incident are alleging Scott has violated a gag order implemented in the lawsuits. During a court hearing on Monday (March 28), Scott’s announcement about Project HEAL — a $5 million initiative that includes funding for an effort to address safety challenges for festivals and large-scale events — was at the center of their argument.
https://t.co/piy3tImlKJ 🤎 pic.twitter.com/91ZyMKBP3d
— TRAVIS SCOTT (@trvisXX) March 9, 2022
One of the Blount family’s attorneys, Bob Hilliard, accused Travis Scott of “using the power of his social media presence” to tackle concert safety, one of the issues being debated by the lawsuits. State District Judge Kristen Hawkins previously explained lawyers could tell the media about factual court issues, but she didn’t want attorneys or anyone else to make their cases in the court of public opinion, which in turn, could potentially influence the jury pool.
Scott’s actions “did affect and dent the power of your order,” Hilliard told Hawkins. Scott’s attorney Stephen Brody denied his client had violated the gag order. Scott’s legal team has argued “any efforts to prevent him from speaking on this or any other issue would be a violation of his constitutional right of free expression.”
“[Such charitable efforts have] “been a constant in his life,” Brody said. “To suggest somehow that speaking about those charitable initiatives … runs afoul of the publicity order … is certainly not something that would withstand scrutiny.”
Other attorneys in the case told Hawkins they are working to find an agreement on modifying the gag order and could have a resolution to her in a couple of weeks, to which Hawkins replied, “I look forward to seeing what proposals you come up with.”
Astroworld took place on November 5, 2021 in Scott’s hometown of Houston, Texas. Over 300 people were injured and treated at the scene, while 25 others were taken to local hospitals. Those who lost their lives shared the same cause of death: compression asphyxia.
ABC Houston gathered up all of their names shortly after the festival, which included Mirza Baig, 27, Rodolfo Peña, 23, Madison Dubiski, 23, Franco Patiño, 21, Jacob Jurinke, 20, John Hilgert, 14, Axel Acosta Avila, 21, Brianna Rodriguez, 16, Ezra Blount, 9, and Bharti Shahani, 22.