Travis Scott Apparently Had No Idea His Fans Were Being Crushed at Astroworld

November 12, 2021 Off By Manisha Krishnan

A lawyer representing Astroworld organizer Travis Scott said the rapper did not know people were being crushed to death in the crowds as he performed at the Nov. 5 festival.

​​Ed McPherson, a member of Scott’s legal team, made the comments on Good Morning America Friday.

"He's up there trying to perform. He does not have any ability to know what's going on down below,” McPherson said, adding Scott didn’t fully grasp the severity of the situation until the following day.

McPherson told ABC13 Scott would have stopped the show if police had alerted him or members of the team that the concert had become a “mass casualty event.”

“Travis didn’t really understand the full effect of everything until the next morning,” McPherson said.

The comments come as lawyers representing more than 200 festival attendees accused concert promoter Live Nation of “criminal” conduct as they launched another 93 lawsuits. Nine people died after going to the show.

Ben Crump, a civil rights attorney also representing the father of Ahmaud Arbery, and Alex Hilliard announced the new wave of lawsuits at a press conference Friday outside Harris County Civil Courthouse in Houston. More than 80 lawsuits tied to the concert, many of them naming Live Nation and rapper/organizer Travis Scott, have already been filed at the courthouse.

“They never thought this would be the worst night of their life, where they witnessed people be killed,” said Crump, noting the victims he represents have suffered “catastrophic” physical and psychological injuries.

Even after authorities realized the show was a mass casaulty event, Scott continued to perform for 40 minutes. On Wednesday, attendee Bharti Shahani, 22, died of injuries she sustained at the show, bringing the death toll to nine. A 14-year-old boy was the youngest victim to die.

“We will make sure that they get justice because this should never, ever have happened,” Crump said. “There were several people who could have stopped this concert when we saw these tragic consequences start to occur.”

Speaking at the press conference, Uniqua Smith, 34, said she attended the festival alone Friday. She described it as the “most traumatizing experience” of her life.

“I remember being crushed from every side by human bodies all around me,” she said. She said she couldn't stand on her own.

She said she tried to get out of the crowd by Scott’s third or fourth song and saw a woman having a seizure and fall to the ground. She said no medical staff responded to her.

Another concert-goer, Dishon Isaac, 31, said he was to the left of the stage. He said fighting broke out and everyone was “like sardines in a can.”

“It was basically a war zone,” he said. “I just remember thinking, ‘If I fall, it’s over for me.’”

Crump encouraged other people with video evidence to get in touch with his team.

Hilliard said the organizers were not adequately prepared, and that there wasn’t enough medical staff and personnel on site at the NRG Stadium.

“This concert never should have happened,” he said.

“We are talking about the largest organizer and promoter of festivals and concerts in the world, and when that happens, a failure of epic proportions on this type of scale, it is criminal.”

In the aftermath of the festival, which had 50,000 guests, fans described being crushed in the crowds, passing out, and watching other people die before their eyes. One video shows a fan desperately pleading with a camera operator to stop filming because people are dying; the operator appears to shoo her off the stage.

Scott is known for agitating his fans, encouraging them to “rage.” In 2017, a man said he was paralyzed after being pushed from a third-floor balcony at Scott’s concert in New York.

He has been charged for inciting a riot at his previous shows multiple times.

Even as Scott acknowledged an ambulance in the Astroworld crowd, he said he wanted his fans to “make this motherfucking ground shake.”

McPherson said Scott has “grown up a lot” and now understands the power he holds onstage. He said he didn’t think Scott meant to incite the Astroworld crowd when he told them to “rage” that night. He also said Scott had no idea fans were rushing security ahead of the show.

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