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Travis Scott Speaks About Astroworld in First Interview Since Deadly Tragedy

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The rapper said he was not informed of the fatalities while he was performing but feels “a responsibility to figure out what” led to the deadly crowd surge.


Travis Scott Says He Was Unaware of Surge During Performance

Rapper Travis Scott appeared Thursday in his first public interview since the tragic crowd surge at his Astroworld music festival in Houston, Texas left 10 people dead in November. 

Scott sat down for an over 50-minute conversation with Charlamagne tha God, which was posted to the radio personality’s YouTube channel. In it, Scott said he was not aware of the fatalities while he was on stage and was not informed of them until a press conference discussing the matter was held.

“It wasn’t really until minutes until the press conference that I figured out what happened,” Scott explained. “Even after the show, you’re just kind of hearing things, but I didn’t know the exact details until minutes before the press conference. And even at that moment, you’re like, ‘Wait, what?’ You just went through something.” 

Video footage taken at the festival showed fans trying to get Scott’s attention, with many screaming for medical assistance or for the show to stop. Scott said he did not hear any of those pleas. 

It’s so crazy because I’m that artist, too — anytime you can hear something like that, you want to stop the show, you want to make sure fans get the proper attention they need,” the “Escape Plan” rapper said, adding that he tries to get a sense of the crowd’s energy, but it can be difficult to do so with the lights and noises surrounding him. 

“So it’s hard to tell excitement from danger, so to speak?” Charlamagne asked.

“Yeah, of course…You can only help what you can see and whatever you’re told,” Scott explained. 

Officials declared Astroworld a mass casualty event 40 minutes before Scott left the stage. According to Charlamagne, Live Nation said the concert could end early amid the chaos, but Scott said he was never directly told to immediately stop performing. 

“They told me, ‘Right after the [musical] guests get on stage, we’re gonna end the show,’ and that’s what we did,” Scott said. “Other than that, there was no communication.” 

“So they didn’t say, ‘Stop now?’” Charlamagne asked. 

“No,” Scott said.

The two discussed a moment where Scott did pause the show to check in with fans. He said he did a call and response to see if everyone was okay but did not hear the crowd express any issues.

“I just kind of stopped the show, I just ask, you know you have a call and response with the fans, you try to generally get a response but you know, if you don’t get like a hard ‘you need to stop’ it’s just…” he explained. 

Scott Says He Wants to Prevent This Tragedy From Happening Again

Hundreds of lawsuits have been filed against Scott, Live Nation, and other event organizers alleging that their negligence lead to the 10 deaths and hundreds of injuries. This week, Scott asked to be dismissed from several cases. His representatives denied the allegations in at least 11 lawsuits and claimed he “is not legally liable” for what happened. Still, conversation about the festival largely centers on Scott and whether or not he could have done more to prevent the tragedy. 

Among other accusations, many of the lawsuits against Scott note his reputation of promoting a rage culture at his shows, which can allow for fan behavior to get out of hand. When asked about this during the interview, Scott said he works to make sure his shows happen in a “safe environment.”

“I think it’s something I’ve been working on for a while of just creating these experiences and trying to show experiences happen in a safe environment,” he said. “Us, as artists, we trust professionals to make sure that if things happen, people leave safely.”

Throughout the interview, he repeated his stance that he feels he should be able to rely on “professionals” to keep the crowd safe while he is on stage. He also denied that the content of his music helped to incite the crowd surge. 

When asked if he felt responsible for the tragedy, he only said he has “a responsibility to figure out what happened here.” 

“I have a responsibility to figure out the solution,” he continued. “Hopefully, this takes a first step for us as artists, having more insight about what’s going on.” 

“I’m the face of the festival, I’m the artist, so the media wants to put it on me, but at the end of the day I don’t think it’s more so about that, it’s more so about stepping up to figure out what the problem is,” he later added. “And I could take that. I could take stepping out to figure out what the problem is, I could take stepping up to figure out what the solution is so that it never happens again.” 

Scott said he wanted the families of those who lost loved ones to know he will “always be there to help you guys heal through this.” He also said he respected the families who denied his offer to pay for funeral costs. 

“All things are understandable,” Scott said. “At a time where they’re grieving and trying to find understanding and they want answers.”

When asked who he blames for the crowd surge, Scott reiterated that his focus is figuring out what series of events unfolded that night to create such a catastrophe. 

“I think the families are owed that, the community is owed that, I feel like we’re owed that to just know what happened,” he said. “And I don’t want to speak too soon, I just want to figure out what happened.”

See what others are saying: (Rolling Stone) (Variety) (NBC News)

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Jodie Sweetin Releases Statement After Getting Pushed By Officers at Pro-Choice Protest: “This Will Not Deter Us”

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“Love everyone out there in the streets fighting for what’s right,” she wrote on Instagram.


Actress Pushed at Protest

After viral footage showed Jodie Sweetin getting pushed to the ground by officers with the Los Angeles Police Department while attending a pro-choice protest, the “Full House” actress said demonstraters “will continue fighting” for their rights. 

Sweetin was attending a protest off the 101 freeway on Saturday following the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.

Photojournalist Mike Ade, who captured the video, said the actress was “trying to lead a group of peaceful protestors away from the freeway” when officers pushed her. Sweetin was standing on a curb when she was pushed and fell down on the cement road. Ade wrote that she was “fortunately…okay.”

Ade shared a handful of other videos depicting officers using similar tactics on other protesters. As these videos started circulating online, many became outraged by the LAPD’s response to the protests.

Sweetin Addresses Incident

Following the incident, Sweetin released a statement where she said the fight against the court’s decision is not over. 

“I’m extremely proud of the hundreds of people who showed up yesterday to exercise their First Amendment rights and take immediate action to peacefully protest the giant injustices that have been delivered from our Supreme Court,” Sweetin said. “Our activism will continue until our voices are heard and action is taken. This will not deter us, we will continue fighting for our rights. We are not free until ALL of us are free.”

Sweetin also shared footage of the incident and other clips of officers clashing with protesters on her Instagram story. She cheered protesters in a comment on a video of the push shared by a social justice group called The Progressivists.

“Love everyone out there in the streets fighting for what’s right,” she wrote.

According to a statement obtained by Deadline, the LAPD is looking into the matter. 

“The LAPD is aware of a video clip of a woman being pushed to the ground by officers not allowing the group to enter on foot and overtake the 101 freeway,” the statement said. “The force used will be evaluated against the LAPD’s policy and procedure.”

See what others are saying: (Deadline) (Rolling Stone) (The Hollywood Reporter)

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Dave Chappelle Decides Against Having Former High School’s Theater Named After Him

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“The idea that my name will be turned into an instrument of someone else’s perceived oppression is untenable to me,” the comedian reportedly said.


Theater Named Announced

Comedian Dave Chappelle opted on Monday to not have the theater at his alma mater high school named after him, according to a report from The Washington Post

The Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Washington D.C. previously planned to name its theater in honor of Chappelle, as he is a distinct alum and donor. While Chappelle formerly said such a gesture would be “the most significant honor of [his] life,” he announced during Monday’s naming ceremony that it would bear a different title. 

The school’s theater will instead be called the Theater for Artistic Freedom and Expression. 

A naming ceremony was initially set to take place in November, but was postponed after the comedian began facing backlash for transphobic jokes in his Netflix special “The Closer.”

Among other things, he said he was “Team TERF,” which stands for trans-exclusionary radical feminist. He also made a joke about Caitlyn Jenner and remarks comparing the genitalia of transgender women to Beyond and Impossible meat.

The jokes embroiled Chappelle in controversy, and reports claimed that some students at Duke Ellington took issue with the comments. When Chappelle ended up visiting the school amid the scandal, Politico reported that one student told the comedian, “I’m 16 and I think you’re childish, you handled it like a child.”

Chappelle Defends Controversial Special 

According to The Post, Chappelle said the criticism against him “sincerely” hurt, but added that “the Ellington Family is my family.” He claimed he did not want the theater being named after him to distract students. 

“The idea that my name will be turned into an instrument of someone else’s perceived oppression is untenable to me,” he said according to Josh Rogin, a columnist for the outlet.

Rogin also tweeted that Chappelle took time out of the ceremony to slam the criticisms levied against him, accusing upset students of promoting someone else’s agenda. 

“These kids didn’t understand that they were instruments of oppression,” he reportedly said. 

“You cannot report on an artist’s work and remove artistic nuance,” Chappelle continued while denouncing the press coverage of his Netflix special. 

According to David Frum, a staff writer for The Atlantic who attended the ceremony, Chappelle suggested he was open to potentially adding his name to the theater at a later date when the community is ready. 

See what others are saying: (The Washington Post) (Variety) (The Atlantic)

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Chris Evans Says People Upset With Same-Gender “Lightyear” Kiss Are “Idiots”

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The kiss was previously removed from the film until a surge of backlash from Pixar employees prompted Disney to reinstate it. 


Chris Evans Supports “Lightyear” Scene

“Lightyear” star Chris Evans is standing against people who have criticized the same-gender kiss scene in the upcoming Pixar film. 

“The real truth is those people are idiots,” the actor told Reuters this week when discussing negative reactions to the scene’s inclusion. 

“The American story, the human story is one of constant social awakening and growth and that’s what makes us good,” he continued. 

Countries like Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, and more have banned the release of “Lightyear” over the kiss, which is between two women. Right-wing pundits in the U.S. have also slammed it, and user reviews for the picture on websites like IMDB have claimed that movie-going has “become an avenue for political propaganda.”

Evans argued those opinions are outdated. 

“There’s always going to be people who are afraid and unaware and trying to hold on to what was before. But those people die off like dinosaurs,” he said. “I think the goal is to pay them no mind, march forward and embrace the growth that makes us human.”

“Lightyear” hits theaters on Friday starring Evans as the titular Buzz Lightyear. Evans, however, is not playing the action figure made famous in the “Toy Story” movies and is instead playing an animated human astronaut who inspired the toy.

Kiss Scene Almost Never Made it to Big Screen

According to outlets that have reviewed the film, the same-gender kiss is between Alisha Hawthorne, a character voiced by Uzo Aduba, and her wife. 

Multiple reports have stated that Disney was always supportive of depicting a gay couple in the picture, but was more hesitant about showing an on-screen kiss between the two. The studio previously had the scene removed from the film until a swell of backlash prompted it to reinstate the kiss.

The decision came in March amid criticisms over Disney’s slow response to Florida’s controversial “Don’t Say Gay” bill. At the time, a group of Pixar employees wrote an open letter claiming that they have pushed for more inclusion in their films, but “nearly every moment of overtly gay affection is cut at Disney’s behest.” 

Now that the scene made the final cut of “Lightyear,” it has been a large topic of conversation leading up to the film’s release. On Monday, Evans told Variety that the inclusion of the scene makes him “happy,” but he hopes one day, scenes like this will be considered standard. 

“It’s tough to not be a little frustrated that it even has to be a topic of discussion,” he said. “That it is this kind of ‘news.’ The goal is that we can get to a point where it is the norm, and that this doesn’t have to be some uncharted waters, that eventually this is just the way it is.”

See what others are saying (Reuters) (Variety) (IndieWire)

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