On Monday, the family of 9-year-old Ezra Blount, the youngest victim of November 5’s Astroworld tragedy, rejected Travis Scott’s offer to pay for funeral expenses. Now, the families of four more victims have also turned down Scott’s offer, saying they’d rather let the courts decide the best course of justice.
“It was not an offer they were going to seriously consider,” the legal representation for the family of 14-year-old victim John Hilgert told Rolling Stone. “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.” A lawyer for the families of Jacob Jurinek and Franco Patiño, both 21, said they “realized quickly that all [Scott] was trying to do was trying to lessen the public outcry on his case.” “It’s bullshit,” the family lawyer for 21-year-old victim Axel Acosta added. “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.”
Three days after the festival, in which a total of ten people died and hundreds were injured during a massive crowd surge, Scott announced his offer to pay for the funeral costs as well as his partnership with mental-health platform BetterHelp, which would provide one month of free therapy for all attendees. However, both offers were met with a range of skepticism, especially from the families of victims who saw these less as genuine support and more as attempts to repair public image. “If he’s trying to impress upon the families that he’s sincere and has concern for them and realize[s] that funerals can be expensive, what Scott’s team did is not the way to do it,” one family lawyer told Rolling Stone, adding that the offer was extended via a letter from Scott’s legal team. To date, there have been $3 billion in lawsuits filed in connection to Astroworld.
Though Scott has maintained he was unaware of what was happening in the crowd, some Astroworld attendees have criticized him for continuing to perform, not only amid the crowd’s pleas to stop the show but 30 minutes after police declared it a mass-casualty event. While the Houston Chronicle noted “multiple” pauses during the November concert, Scott is known for encouraging rowdy crowds, which has resulted in fans being injured in stampedes.
The letter from Blount’s family lawyer to Scott’s representation said they “have no doubt Mr. Scott feels remorse” and that “his journey ahead will be painful.” However, it added, “he must face and hopefully see that he bears some of the responsibility for this tragedy.”