Following the deadly crowd surge at AstroWorld that killed 10 and injured hundreds in November, rapper Travis Scott announced he would pay for the victims’ funeral. Half of them have since rejected the offer.
Per Rolling Stone, the family of the youngest victim, nine-year-old Ezra Blount, was the first to refuse. Now, four others are saying, “no, thanks.” According to the attorneys representing the families, Scott’s offer was more about public optics than expressing remorse.
“It was not an offer [the Hilgerts] were going to seriously consider,” Richard Mithoff, the lawyer representing 14-year-old John Hilgert’s family, 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.”
Other lawyers agree. Philip Corboy, who represents the families of Jacob Jurinek and Franco Patino, both 21, said his clients “realized quickly that all he was trying to do was trying to lessen the public outcry on his case […] It took them each about three seconds to say ‘No, no no.’”
“If he’s trying to impress upon the families that he’s sincere and has concern for them and realize that funerals can be expensive, what Scott’s team did is not the way to do it,” Corboy said. “You don’t get a piece of paper in the mail from a lawyer in Beverly Hills who says he represents Travis Scott. These families are raw right now; that lacks any personal touch.”
The representative for the family of Axel Acosta, 21, Tony Buzbee, also took offense to the offer. He didn’t even return Scott’s lawyer’s call. “It’s bullshit. 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.”
“Let the families grieve and shut up, that’s it. When something like this happens, there’s not a whole lot someone like Travis Scott could do to assuage their pain,” Buzbee said. “He says he feels sorry for them but he’s quick to say it wasn’t his fault. He’s no different than any defendant pointing fingers to someone else. They don’t want funeral expenses from him. Whatever we get from him we’re going to get through the court system.”
Along with Drake, Apple, and Live Nation, Travis Scott is currently facing a $2 billion lawsuit on behalf of 282 plaintiffs. Another suit, representing 125 plaintiffs and asking for $750 million in damages, was also filed. Buzbee, however, believes they will be “consolidated in a single courtroom in Houston.”