The attorney for a man who was partially paralyzed after falling during a Travis Scott show in 2017 said Friday night’s deaths and injuries at Astroworld were just the latest instance of Scott encouraging chaos at his performances.
“His song lyrics encourage violence and injury at his concerts,” attorney Howard Hershenhorn told BuzzFeed News, pointing in particular to Scott’s song “Stargazing.” In it, Scott says, “And it ain’t a mosh pit if it ain’t no injuries / I got ’em stage diving out the nosebleeds.”
That song is the first track on Scott’s album Astroworld, released in 2018. A year earlier, video shows Scott encouraging fans to jump from a balcony at New York’s Terminal 5 venue.
“Don’t be scared,” Scott can be heard saying. “They’re going to catch you.”
Multiple fans did jump from the balcony that night, but Kyle Green has said he was pushed by the surging crowd. More than four years later, the now–27-year-old still mostly uses a wheelchair, said Hershenhorn, who is representing him in a civil lawsuit against Scott as well as the venue owner, Scott’s management, and the security company. Attorneys for Scott and the other defendants have denied the allegations, and representatives didn't immediately respond to BuzzFeed News on Sunday.
Given Scott’s past statements as well as the injuries at his shows, what happened at his Astroworld Festival was a tragedy but not a surprise, Hershenhorn said.
“Make no mistake about it, his desire for chaos caused this horrific tragedy,” he said.
In recent years, Scott has pleaded guilty to misdemeanors twice in connection with his performances. In 2015, he was arrested within minutes of starting his set at Lollapalooza in Chicago after telling fans to climb over security barricades. He later pleaded guilty to reckless conduct. In 2017, he was accused of inciting a riot at a performance in Arkansas in which he allegedly again encouraged people to push past security. Multiple people were injured, and Scott ultimately pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct.
With that history, Hershenhorn said, he doesn’t buy Scott’s new statement, in which the artist said he’s devastated by what happened at Astroworld and hopes to support the families in need.
“He’s now attempting to bolster his image by being remorseful on Twitter, but he should have thought about and learned a lesson from the consequences of his past misdeeds,” Hershenhorn said. “Friday night never should have happened.”
In video from Astroworld, Scott can be seen elevated over the stage, and he pauses to direct medics to a person in distress. He then begins singing as people in the crowd yell to stop the show. In one video, the limp body of a concertgoer is passed overhead by people in the crowd toward assistance.
Eight people, ranging in age from 14 to 27, died, and as of Saturday, 13 others remained in the hospital with injuries.
According to the Houston Chronicle, Scott continued performing for 37 minutes after officials declared the concert a “mass casualty” incident. Multiple attendees told BuzzFeed News they believed they narrowly escaped injury or death after being stuck in the crush of the crowd, and Live Nation didn’t respond to questions about why the show continued after multiple injuries were reported.
Hershenhorn said he sees some parallels to Green’s experience in 2017, and he believes security and medical staff were incompetent. But a big part of the responsibility is Scott’s alone, he said.
Scott is next slated to headline the Day N Vegas festival in Las Vegas on Saturday. Organizer Goldenvoice didn’t respond to questions about its plans to keep the crowd safe.
“He encourages injury,” Hershenhorn said. “It’s crazy to think about, but he wrote it in his own lyrics.”