In an interview with radio host Charlemagne Tha God on Thursday, Travis Scott denied responsibility for 10 deaths, including a nine-year-old boy, and hundreds of injuries at his Houston concert last month.
The rapper, who is facing more than 300 lawsuits that could cost billions, said he didn’t know how severe the situation was at his November 5 Astroworld music festival until minutes before giving a press conference about it. Once he learned the details, he said he was shocked.
“Even at that moment, you’re kind of just like: ‘Wait, what?’ … People pass out, things happen at concerts, but something like that…” he trailed off.
When Charlemagne pressed him about eyewitness accounts that he ignored calls for help, Scott responded that the special effects, including the pyrotechnics, made it impossible for him to accurately judge the danger. “I’m that artist, too, like – any time you can hear something like that, you want to stop the show,” he said. “You want to make sure fans get the proper attention they need. Any time I could see anything like that, I did. I stopped it a couple of times to just make sure everybody was OK. And I really just go off the fans’ energy as a collective — call and response. I just didn’t hear that.” He later added, “You can only help what you can see, you know what I mean? And then whatever you’re told … whenever somebody tell you to stop, you just stop.”
Asked about the reputation his shows have for being “ragers” and whether that could have contributed to the deadly crowd surge, Scott seemed to insist that high-energy and excitement are a necessary part of the experience. “In concerts, we’ve grown it to be just the experience of having fun. It’s not about just … harm. It’s not about that. It’s about just letting go and having fun.”
He also suggested it’s up to security professionals, not performers, to ensure events happen safely.
“[It’s] something I’ve been working on for a while, of just creating these experiences and trying to show, like, the experiences happening in a safe environment,” he said, adding “Us as artists, we trust professionals to make sure that things happen, that people leave safely. … And this night was just like a regular show, it felt like to me, as far as, like, you know, the energy. It didn’t feel like … people didn’t show up there to just be harmful.”
Scott has offered to pay funeral costs of all the victims, but about half the families have rejected that offer. One Houston law firm is seeking $10 billion in damages against Scott in a class action suit representing about 1,500 attendees and victims’ families.
Scott’s team has denied the singer bears any legal liability and has filed a motion to dismiss.