In 1st interview since Astroworld tragedy, Travis Scott says he never heard fans' screams for help

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BySteve Campion KTRK logo
Thursday, December 9, 2021
Travis Scott says he never heard fans' screams for help
Travis Scott spoke for the first time on the Astroworld Festival tragedy that killed 10 of his fans in an interview with Charlamagne Tha God.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- In the wake of rapper Travis Scott's first sit-down interview since the Astroworld Festival tragedy, Houston attorney Tony Buzbee, who is representing the family of one of the 10 victims, said Scott should stay silent if he is not going to accept responsibility for what happened at the Nov. 5 music festival at NRG Park.

Buzbee is representing Axel Acosta's family.

Axel's aunt, Cynthia, said this was his first time going to an event like that. The 21-year-old Western Washington University student traveled all alone to Houston for the concert.

SEE RELATED STORY: Astroworld Festival victim Axel Acosta died amid Houston concert crowd surge

During a press conference a month ago, Buzbee said Axel died of crowd rush. Crowd rush occurs when you have a high density crowd moving in one direction in a confined space.

Buzbee said the Acosta family is disgusted by Scott's comments and interview with radio and TV personality Charlamagne Tha God.

SEE RELATED: Astroworld victim Axel Acosta's body was 'trampled like a piece of trash,' attorney Tony Buzbee says

"We're taught as kids, when you make a mistake, the best thing you can to do is to admit it and take responsibility. Travis Scott has not done that. Made no effort to. In fact, in 50-some-odd minutes, he didn't even say, 'I'm sorry,'" Buzbee said. "Every time he tries to shift blame, every time that he makes excuses, he just adds to the pain of the families that have lost loved ones."

Buzbee said his recent comments have made it worse for the grieving families.

"You have to accept responsibility," said Buzbee. "As I said, it won't remove the pain, but at least it won't make it worse. If he can't do that, he should just shut up."

The attorney representing the families of two other festival victims, Franco Patino and Jacob Jurinek, released the following statement:

"The Patino and Jurinek families are deeply offended by Travis Scott's latest pre-packaged public relations stunt. The families are smart, and they saw it for what it was. In his interview, Travis Scott talked about his fans at Astroworld being his 'family' and that he's right there with their families now. The families needed him to be 'there' during the show when Travis Scott could have and should have saved the lives of their children. How dare he say he's with the families. Nothing could be farther from the truth. The only time Travis Scott will be with them is in court."

For the first time since the festival tragedy, Scott, a Houston native, spoke out about the night that resulted in the deaths of 10 of his fans.

WATCH: 'Concert from hell': Astroworld Fest attendees describe chaos

Moments before arriving at the event, Zach and Kaia were all smiles. That changed during Travis Scott's first song. "I was literally praying 'Please get me out of here.'"

Scott's interview was posted Thursday morning to Charlamagne Tha God's YouTube channel, where the Missouri City-born entertainer sat down to discuss what happened.

Scott, who headlined the festival and is the event's founder, is at the center of hundreds of lawsuits, including one for $2 billion on behalf of over 200 victims.

SEE MORE: Attorney files $2 billion lawsuit against Travis Scott and others on behalf of Astroworld victims

The 30-year-old rapper faces allegations that he knew fans were injured and suffering during his show, but continued to perform, even as some fans tried in vain to grab the attention of camera operators in an effort to make the rapper stop.

Scott has maintained that he did not know about the fatalities or injuries at the time.

He was asked minutes into the nearly one-hour long interview when he knew that things went horribly wrong.

"It wasn't really until minutes into the press conference that I found out exactly what happened. Even after the show, you're just hearing things," Scott began. "But, I didn't know the exact details until minutes before the press conference."

"And even at the moment, you're like, 'Wait. What?'" Scott continued. "You just went through something, and it's like, 'What?'"

"So you didn't know people had actually passed away?" Charlamagne asked.

"No. Until minutes before," Scott said. "The thing is, people pass out. Things happen at concerts. But something like that. It's just like..."

When asked, Scott also said that he never heard fans in the crowd screaming for help to get his attention.

"It's so crazy because I'm that artist, too, you know, anytime you hear something like that, you want to stop the show. You want to make sure fans get the proper attention they need," Scott explained. "Anytime I could see something like that, I did. I stopped it a couple times just to make sure everybody was OK. I really just go off the fans' energy as a collective. Call and response. I just didn't hear that. I've got music. I've got in my ears. I just didn't hear that."

A detailed timeline shows that minutes after Scott took the stage at 9:02 p.m. in front of a crowd of 50,000, concertgoers were already reporting that the crowd surge started and they were having trouble standing up.

At 9:25 p.m., Scott stopped the show to address a fan who needed help. It would be one of three times he would stop his performance.

Scott wrapped up the show at about 10:12 p.m. He's seen on Apple Music's Livestream of the concert telling fans to get home safely.

During the interview with Charlamagne, Scott dived deeper into his explanation of why he claimed it was difficult to see what was going on while he was on stage.

"It's hard to tell excitement from danger, so to speak?" Charlamagne asked.

"Everything sounds the same. At the end of the day, you just hear music," Scott said. "You can only help what you can see, and whatever you're told. Whenever somebody tells you to stop, you just stop."

The interview also touched on the "rage culture" surrounding Scott's performances.

Joey Guerra, a Houston Chronicle music critic who was at the concert, said the so-called rage culture has been Scott's unique niche since the beginning of his performance career. He said the culture thrives on chaotic energy.

"I think, for a lot of these fans, when we talk about 'rage culture,' it's a positive thing for them," Guerra said. "When you watch, in particular, this Netflix documentary that he did, it's using that as a selling point, and we see these fans talking about being in the crowd, and you know, we see a guy on crutches, people injured and talking about the experience of being in his show. But it's all seen as something positive. I think that's kind of the danger here. There's a very kind of a delicate balancing act that's happening, and if it teeters the wrong way, unfortunately, we see what happens."

In 2017, Scott was arrested and charged with inciting a riot, disorderly conduct and endangering a minor after a show in Arkansas.

Police alleged that he encouraged people to rush the stage and bypass security protocols.

Charlamagne brought up rage culture during the interview, but Scott stopped short of blaming that for how the show unfolded.

"It's something I've been working on for a while of just creating these experiences and trying to show these experiences happening in a safe environment," Scott said. "As artists, we trust professionals to make sure that things happen and people leave safely. And this night was a regular show, it felt like to me as far as the energy. People didn't show up there to be harmful. They showed up to have a good time, and something unfortunate happened, and I think we really have to figure out what that was."

Scott defined raging as an experience of having fun, reiterating that it wasn't supposed to be about harm.

"It's about letting go and having fun. Help others, it's not about just harm," he said. "The show isn't rambunctious for an hour. That's not what it is. I can say the energy is high."

Scott's whereabouts in the immediate moments and days after the show have also been called into question.

According to sources, Scott went to a private party at Dave & Buster's, which was part of an event scheduled with his friend and fellow artist Drake. While Scott was allegedly unaware of the disaster, sources said that Scott left the party sometime early Saturday morning, Nov. 6, after learning about the deaths.

While he'd initially kept a low profile in the aftermath, except for a video message to fans, Scott was spotted around Thanksgiving with actor Mark Wahlberg and Michael Jordan.

"It was just Thanksgiving. It was just good people to have around in a community," Scott told Charlamagne. "That was more of like a personal time. I think a fan came and asked for a photo."

"At the end of the day, these fans are your family, so you just feel like you lost something," Scott said.

Scott was also asked how much responsibility he felt for what happened at his show.

"I have a responsibility to figure out what happened here. I have a responsibility to figure out the solution," he began. "Hopefully this takes the first steps into us, as artists, having more insight into what's going on. The professionals to kind of surround and figure out more of an intel, whether it's tech, whether it's a response, to figure out that."

Charlamagne followed up on his initial question, this time asking Scott if the event's organizers, Live Nation, should bear responsibility and how much.

"They do their job of setting these things up. When we dial into what specifically happened here, I feel like they can even help figure out what happened in a sense, but at the end of the day, collectively, I think everyone needs to just figure out the bottom line solution," Scott said.

Live Nation has also been named in lawsuits.


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