Travis Scott has been accused of violating a gag order earlier this week (March 28).
Attorneys for some of the victims of last year’s Astroworld tragedy alleged in court on Monday that Scott violated a gag order that was issued in lawsuits they filed relating to the case.
The rapper is currently facing hundreds of lawsuits over the events that unfolded at Astroworld in Houston in November, where 10 people died and 300 people were injured at the festival following a crowd surge.
The attorneys allege that breaking the rules of the gag order could influence future jurors and improve Scott’s reputation ahead of any potential trial.
It stems from an announcement that Scott made earlier this month regarding ‘Project HEAL’, an initiative that includes funding for large-scale events to help them address safety challenges.
On social media, Scott wrote: “My team and I created Project HEAL to take much needed action towards supporting real solutions that make all events the safest spaces they can possibly be. I will always honour the victims of the Astroworld tragedy who remain in my heart forever.”
Bob Hilliard, one of the attorneys representing the family of nine-year-old Ezra Blount, who was the youngest person to die at the festival, said during a court hearing that Scott used his social media presence to address one of the issues in the lawsuits – concert safety (via AP).
District Judge Kristen Hawkins had previously stated in an order that lawyers could tell the media about factual issues that happen in court, but that she didn’t want them or others making their cases publicly so as not to influence any future jury members. Hilliard argued in court that Scott’s post “did affect and dent the power of your [Hawkins’] order”.
Representing Scott, Stephen Brody said that Scott’s charitable efforts have “been a constant in his life” and “to suggest somehow that speaking about those charitable initiatives … runs afoul of the publicity order … is certainly not something that would withstand scrutiny”.
Travis Scott performs during Astroworld 2021 in Houston, Texas. Credit: Rick Kern/Getty Images
Scott’s lawyers have previously argued that any effort to prevent him speaking about this would be a violation of his “constitutional right of free expression”. The gag order has also been challenged by journalists, who have argued it prevents them from reporting on a matter of public interest.
Lawyers are now working on modifying the gagging order to address these different concerns, to which Judge Hawkins replied: “I look forward to seeing what proposals you come up with.” These are due to be discussed in court again in two weeks’ time.
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