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)
“Emancipation” Producer Apologizes, Hopes He Did Not “Distract” From Film’s Message By Bringing Photo of Enslaved Man to Premiere
He said he plans on donating his collection of historical images to appropriate institutions.
McFarland Brings “Whipped Pete” Photo to Premiere
“Emancipation” producer Joey McFarland apologized on Sunday after facing backlash for bringing the original 1863 photo of the enslaved person the film is based on to the premiere.
“I wholeheartedly apologize to everyone I have offended by bringing a photograph of Peter to the Emancipation premiere,” he wrote in a statement on Instagram. “My intent was to honor this remarkable man and to remind the general public that his image not only brought about change in 1863 but still resonates and promotes change today.”
The photo, frequently dubbed “Whipped Peter,” is one of the most famous images depicting the gruesome realities of slavery in America. He is facing away from the camera, revealing the severe scarring all across his back. According to the Library of Congress, the formerly enslaved man was actually named Gordon. Will Smith plays him in “Emancipation,” which follows his escape from slavery.
While walking the red carpet of the film’s premiere, McFarland carried the photo with him.
“I have the photo. This is the original photograph from 1863,” he told Variety. “I wanted it to be here tonight. I wanted a piece of Peter to be here tonight.”
While lamenting the fact that so many historical artifacts have not been properly preserved, McFarland told Variety that he “took it upon [him]self to curate and build a collection for future generations.” He said his collection will be donated after he dies.
His remarks were met with swift criticism from those who thought it was inappropriate for McFarland to not just own the picture, but to bring it to a Hollywood event.
“Why do you own the photograph? Why did you bring it to a movie premiere if the intent is to preserve it respectfully?” The Black List founder Franklin Leonard tweeted.
“I don’t know, man, but bringing ‘a piece of Peter’ that you ‘own’ to the red carpet of a movie that’s personally enriching you so that you can collect more slave memorabilia that you’ll keep until your death,” he added along with a giphy of Kenan Thompson saying “yikes.”
McFarland Acknowledges Historical Photos “Belong to the World”
Others argued that the photo should belong to Gordon’s family.
“Being in possession of a symbol that reflects our trauma is exactly what our oppressor would do. He is his ancestor’s child,” another person added.
In his apology, McFarland said that he hopes his actions “don’t distract from the film’s message, Peter’s story and just how much impact he had on the world.”
Throughout the development of “Emancipation,” McFarland said he discovered many photos of overlooked individuals with important historical stories. He said he always planned to donate them and believes “there is no better time to begin that process than now.”
“These photographs, which existed before me, will be around long after I am gone; they belong to the world,” he wrote.
See what others are saying: (Variety) (The Hollywood Reporter) (The Daily Beast)
Joe Rogan Holds Spot As Top Podcaster on Spotify in 2022
Earlier this year, some threatened to boycott the platform over Rogan and the health misinformation he shared on his show.
For the third year in a row, “The Joe Rogan Experience” was the number one podcast on Spotify, the company revealed in its yearly “Wrapped” feature on Wednesday.
“The Joe Rogan Experience” became exclusive to Spotify in 2020 after the host signed a lucrative deal with the audio streaming platform. “Call Her Daddy” by Alex Cooper, also a Spotify exclusive, followed Rogan on the charts. “Anything Goes With Emma Chamberlain,” which will become exclusive to the service next year, came in third.
Rogan’s podcast has made several headlines over the last year as the podcaster faced backlash from medical professionals and major musicians for touting COVID-19 misinformation. Niel Young asked to have his music removed from Spotify in protest of the company’s deal with Rogan, and several other artists soon followed.
Just a few days later, several clips resurfaced of Rogan using a racial slur. Many called to boycott Spotify for platforming Rogan, but his popularity did not seem to fade by the year’s end.
There are over four million podcasts available to stream on Spotify and over the last year, the platform has expanded into new markets.
It also has started launching podcasts from several high-profile figures, including Kim Kardashian’s “The System,” and Meghan Markle’s “Archetypes.” Both of those debuted mid-year and did not crack the annual top-five list.
Comedian Gives David Beckham Ultimatum: Exit Role at Qatar World Cup Or £10K in Donations Gets Shredded
“Not just the money, but also your status as a gay icon will be shredded,” Joe Lycett said in a video.
Pressure on Beckham
Comedian Joe Lycett posted a video on Sunday saying he would shred £10,000 if soccer star David Beckham does not pull out of his deal to be an ambassador for the Qatar World Cup.
Ahead of the event, which kicks off on Nov. 20, many have been raising concerns about human rights abuses in Qatar. The country criminalizes homosexuality, and it can be punishable by death.
Beckham’s deal to represent the country was reportedly worth £10 million, and many are frustrated that the athlete took such a big check from a country with known anti-LGBTQ laws. In his video, Lycett noted that Beckham has been openly supportive of his gay fans and was the first premiere footballer to do a photoshoot with a gay magazine.
In an attempt to get Beckham to bow out of his role, Lycett, who is pansexual, offered an ultimatum.
“If you end your relationship with Qatar, I’ll donate this £10,000 of my own money, that’s a grand for every million you’re reportedly getting, to charities that support queer people in football,” he stated. “However, if you do not, at midday next Sunday, I will throw this money into a shredder.”
“Not just the money, but also your status as a gay icon will be shredded.”
Beckham’s Reputation “Shredded”
Lycett said he would livestream the money shredding if that’s what the situation comes to. If Beckham does not back out of the World Cup, Lycett noted he will be forced to “commit what might be a crime,” as destroying legal tender is against the law in the U.K.
“Although even then, I reckon I’ll get off more lightly than I would if I got caught whacking off a lad in Doha,” Lycett quipped.
Lycett then linked to a website titled https://benderslikebeckham.com/, which includes a written version of his message, as well as a countdown to when he will either shred the cash or send it to a non-profit.
Lycett is not the only U.K star to raise concerns about issues in Qatar. Singer Dua Lipa shut down speculation that she would be performing at the World Cup over the weekend by saying she has no intentions to visit the country until “it has fulfilled all the human rights pledges it made when it won the right to host” the event.
Other stars, however, including BTS’s Jung Kook, are slated to take the stage.