In a new development that we’re sure caught the producers of the upcoming Coachella Valley Arts And Music Festival entirely off-guard—because who could have ever predicted that Kanye West might pick a meaningless, bullshit fight with a young woman whose albums sales now regularly threaten to rival his own—but festival headliner Kanye West has, in fact, done that thing we just said.
Specifically, West has now threatened to boycott the Festival—which chose, we feel it’s important to remind you, to give Kanye West this power over it, in the year two thousand and twenty-two—unless Billie Eilish issues an apology for…giving a fan an inhaler at a concert.
Okay, so, technically, that’s not all she did: Eilish also made a point of noting to the crowd at the show—which took place on February 5 in Atlanta, and which Eilish paused so that security staff could help a fan who she saw was in distress—that “I wait for people to be okay until I keep going.” Which, a) is pretty much just good, humanitarian policy, as far as we can tell, but which also, b), has been interpreted as quiet criticism thrown at Travis Scott over the deaths at his Astroworld festival in November 2021.
Scott’s legal and social liability for the deaths of 10 people during the crush event that took place during his set on November 5, 2021, will likely be litigated to the extreme over the next few years; reports from the night assert he paused the show three times across a 30 minute period, continuing twice despite reportedly seeing unconscious people in the crowd. If Eilish was being pointed about what happened there with her comment, then, it’s fairly hard to fault her: Very few people have asserted that what happened at Astroworld was unavoidable, regardless of the part Scott is ultimately determined to have played in it.
None of which stopped West (who is friends and a frequent collaborator with Scott, and who is reportedly set to feature him at his Coachella set) from wading into the conversation and instantly becoming the loudest voice in the room, per usual. Here’s his Instagram statement, which we’re going to leave in all caps, in order to better capture the feeling of Kanye West not listening to anyone else while he talks:
COME ON BILLIE WE LOVE YOU PLEASE APOLOGIZE TO TRAV AND TO THE FAMILIES OF THE PEOPLE WHO LOST THEIR LIVES NO ONE INTENDED THIS TO HAPPEN TRAV DIDN’T HAVE ANY IDEA OF WHAT WAS HAPPENING WHEN HE WAS ON STAGE AND WAS VERY HURT BY WHAT HAPPENED AND YES TRAV WILL BE WITH ME AT COACHELLA BUT NOW I NEED BILLIE TO APOLOGIZE BEFORE I PERFORM
Variety reports that Eilish responded at some point to West’s request in the comments to the post with a simple, “Literally never said a thing about Travis. Was just helping a fan,” although our own trawl through said comments didn’t pull up that post. (Instagram: Where information goes to die!)
In any case, Coachella now finds itself in a situation where it’s going to have to potentially choose between two of its three headliners, and, again: Who could have ever predicted this? Kanye? Kanye West? Throwing his weight around for little more reason than the satisfaction of being a bully who can? Heaven forfend. Dang it. We’ve all been blindsided yet again.