The legal battle has begun, just days after the Astroworld Festival tragedy shocked the entertainment world and claimed eight lives and injured scores more.
Over the weekend, two lawsuits were filed against rapper Travis Scott and others involved in putting together the Houston-based festival which sadly turned tragic after multiple concertgoers were killed in an apparent crowd rush during the show. Those legal moves represent the first of what very well may be considerable litigation in the months and years to come regarding the horrific event.
Related: Kylie Jenner Defends Travis Scott, Says They ‘Weren’t Aware’ Of Concert Tragedy At The Time
According to multiple reports, concertgoer Manuel Souza was the first to bring suit, with his lawyer filing a brief on Saturday in Harris County District Court. Souza evidently attended the show on Friday night, and is now suing over what he terms as being the “predictable and preventable” tragedy.
Per E! News, the lawsuit names defendants including Scott, the ticketing and entertainment company Live Nation, and event organizers ScoreMore and ASM Global. In the brief, Souza alleges the defendants failed to “ensure a safe, secure, and positive environment” for ticket-holders, and added:
“[Because of] a motivation for profit at the expense of concertgoers’ health and safety, and due to their encouragement of violence, at least 8 people lost their lives and scores of others were injured at what was supposed to be a night of fun.”
Souza’s brief, filed by attorney Steve Kherkher of the Houston law firm Kherkher Garcia, goes on to claim the concertgoer himself was injured in the crowd melee, explaining:
“[Souza] suffered serious bodily injuries when the uncontrolled crowd at the concert knocked him to the ground and trampled him. The plaintiff’s injuries were the inevitable and predictable result of defendants’ conscious disregard of the extreme risks of harm to concertgoers that had been escalating since hours earlier.”
Regarding that, Scott has come under particular attention in the aftermath of this tragedy due to a prior history of encouraging fans at his shows to “rage,” and disregard security and crowd-control procedures. Back in 2017, he was arrested at a show in Arkansas after authorities alleged his comments to fans from the stage were enough to incite a riot. The rapper was also arrested on disorderly conduct charges in 2015 after similar on-stage actions at Lollapalooza in Chicago.
According to TMZ, Souza’s lawsuit specifically cites those incidents, alleging they prove Scott’s history of encouraging mis-behavior at shows. Furthermore, the plaintiff claims those past events should have triggered a more serious response from event organizers this time around when things turned ugly in Houston on Friday night.
Souza’s brief also describes how concertgoers first began stampeding their way into NRG Park hours before the tragedy, when things were first opening up at the festival. Videos later posted on social media purported to show tons of people running through security gates and metal detectors, and trampling over one another, after allegedly breaking through barriers at the event.
In addition to the legal filing itself, Souza’s attorney also released a statement about the situation to E! News over the weekend, sharing (below):
“As proud residents of Houston, we are sickened by the devastating tragedy that took place on Friday night…[Travis Scott] and those who promoted and supported this concert must take responsibility for their heinous actions.”
A second concertgoer has also already filed suit, too.
Kristian Paredes alleged negligence on the part of Scott, Live Nation, and fellow performer Drake, as well as the Harris County Sports and Convention Corporation, in a second lawsuit over the weekend.
According to this one, Drake’s appearance on stage and alleged help in whipping up the crowd into a frenzy is what exacerbated crowd rush issues that evening:
“[Drake] came on stage alongside Travis Scott and helped incite the crowd, and the crowd became chaotic and a stampede began leaving eight dead and dozens including Kristian Paredes severely injured.”
As of Monday morning, Live Nation and ScoreMore have not publicly commented on the lawsuits.
A spokesperson for ASM Global and NRG Park (where the show was held) simply told E! News (below):
“Because of pending litigation and ongoing investigations, we are unable to comment.”
Kylie Jenner‘s baby daddy has publicly commented on the tragedy itself, as we reported, but the rapper’s reps have been quiet thus far regarding the first legal moves against him.
Our hearts continue to go out to those killed and otherwise seriously affected by this terrible incident.
[Image via WENN/Avalon]