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Travis Scott reps dub Astroworld documentary a “propaganda piece”

By | Published on Tuesday 3 May 2022


As a documentary about last year’s Astroworld tragedy started being screened in more cinemas around Texas last week, a member of Travis Scott’s team dubbed the film a “propaganda piece”, a “profit play” and a “publicity stunt” created by a “trauma pornographer”.

‘Concert Crush’ puts the spotlight on the fatal crowd surge that occurred during Travis Scott’s headline set at the festival he founded in his home town of Houston. Ten people died and hundreds more were injured during the crowd surge, which has resulted in hundreds of lawsuits being filed.

The film has been put together by Charlie Minn, who refers to himself as a “victim-driven” documentary filmmaker. One of its co-producers, meanwhile, is a lawyer working on some of the Astroworld lawsuits, Ricardo Ramos.

Having heard about Minn’s film – and plans for a couple of premiere screenings last month before the roll out to more cinemas around Texas – Astroworld promoter Live Nation wrote to the judge overseeing all the lawsuits to express concerns that the documentary could taint the jury pool if and when some of those cases go to full trial.

Noting the involvement of Ramos as a co-producer – and that other lawyers working on Astroworld cases were interviewed in the film – Live Nation’s letter to judge Kristen Hawkins stated: “The involvement of plaintiffs’ lawyers in the film, and the publicity the filmmakers and producers are trying to generate for it, raise significant issues about efforts to taint the jury pool”.

A rep for Scott himself, speaking about the film last week, was much more damning than Live Nation’s lawyers, or at least so says TMZ. It quotes the rep as describing ‘Concert Crush’ as a “farce financed by and containing content from members of the plaintiffs’ legal teams, who, weeks after a tragedy, sought to exploit and benefit financially from it, with the clear goals of making money and swaying future juries and public opinion”.

Insisting that the documentary was nothing more than a “propaganda piece”, the rep reportedly added: “It’s a profit play and a publicity stunt, with no support from the film industry, no distribution, and from a director with no respect from his field who has been termed a ‘trauma pornographer'”.

For his part, Minn has been just as forthright when talking about Scott in interviews alongside the release of his film. According to Page Six, he said: “Travis Scott to me is a punk. In my opinion, he is a criminal. Ten people died. How do we get around that?”

A key question in all the lawsuits, of course, is who specifically, if anyone, was responsible for the crowd surge that occurred during Astroworld 2021.

Promoter Live Nation and its Scoremore subsidiary – as well as local law enforcement and licensing officials – are likely to come under criticism over the planning of the event and the response on the ground on the night as the crowd surge occurred.

Scott is also a defendant in the lawsuits. He’s been criticised for having a history of encouraging his audiences to behave in a dangerous way, and for continuing to perform for half an hour after police had declared a mass casualty event during his Astroworld set.

Though Scott’s supporters have pointed out that it is not the artist’s responsibility to ensure crowd safety at festivals they are involved in or to halt a show when a major incident occurs. Plus, they add, Scott did pause his Astroworld performance a few times, including once when he saw an audience member had passed out, and once when he saw an ambulance trying to move through the audience.

However, reckons Minn, those events should have made it clear to Scott that there was a major problem occurring. “The reason he deserves criticism and jail time, he knew there was a problem”, the director added in his interview. “He acknowledged an ambulance in the crowd. He noticed people passed out and stopped the show on three occasions. I’m not saying he knew people were dead, but he knew there was a problem. An ambulance is not an ice cream truck”.

As for his motivation for making ‘Concert Crush’, Minn said that he was trying to give the victims a voice, while also seeking to ensure that “every concert organiser and promoter uses Astroworld as a model [of] what not to do. I don’t want to see another person get hurt at a concert again. Last time I checked you are supposed to go for fun and not to fight for your life”.

Another Scott rep that spoke to Page Six said that the rapper had not seen the film, but that his team consider it to be a “blatant piece of propaganda”, adding: “This movie is not a serious investigative piece”.

As well as the screenings in Texas, ‘Concert Crush’ is also streaming on Vimeo: