The families of five Astroworld victims, including nine-year-old Ezra Blount, have rejected rapper Travis Scott’s offer to pay funeral costs.
On Monday (29 November), Rolling Stone reported that the Blount family had declined Scott’s offer to cover the boy’s funeral expenses, citing their lawyer Bob Hilliard’s written response to the rapper’s legal counsel, Daniel Petrocelli.
Hilliard wrote: “Your client’s offer is declined. I have no doubt Mr Scott feels remorse. His journey ahead will be painful. He must face and hopefully see that he bears some of the responsibility for this tragedy.”
Now, four other families have also turned down Scott’s offer, according to their lawyers who confirmed the news to Rolling Stone.
These include attorneys representing the families of 21-year-old friends Jacob Jurinek and Franco Patino, 21-year-old Axel Acosta, and 14-year-old John Hilgert.
While Richard Mithioff, representing Hilgert’s grieving family, said the rapper’s offer was “demeaning”, the Acosta family lawyer Tony Buzbee called it “bulls***”.
Buzbee said: “If you gave a shit about these families, you wouldn’t have to put out a press release for everyone to see saying he’s willing to pay for a funeral.”
On 5 November, a massive crowd surge during Scott’s performance at the Houston-based Astroworld festival left 10 people dead, and many more injured. More than 50,000 people had gathered at the site of the former Houston Six Flags park, catching event organisers off-guard, and leaving emergency medical responders overwhelmed.
Scott’s lawyer Petrocelli reportedly sent the letter to Hilliard and his co-counsel Ben Crump last Wednesday (24 November), a day after Ezra’s family laid him to rest.
“Travis is devastated by the tragedy that occurred at the Astroworld Festival and grieves for the families whose loved ones died or were injured,” Mr Petrocelli’s letter read. “Travis is committed to doing his part to help the families who have suffered and begin the long process of healing in the Houston community. Toward that end, Travis would like to pay for the funeral expenses for Mr Blount’s son.”
The advocate claimed that the acceptance of his client’s offer would have no bearing on the lawsuit filed by Ezra’s father, Treston Blount, against Scott and others.
However, in their heartbreaking response, the Blount family said losing Ezra was like “a faucet of unimaginable pain that has no off handle.”
“To lose a child in the manner Treston lost Ezra compounds the pain,” Mr Billiard said.
Ezra was on Blount’s shoulder during the deadly concert, when he fell and got separated from his father. Blount passed out from the crowd pressure and the family found Ezra at a nearby hospital.
Having suffered organ damage and brain swelling, Ezra remained in a medically-induced coma on life support, but succumbed to his injuries on 14 November.
The attorney for Jurinek and Patino’s families, Philip Corboy said the manner in which Scott had tried to reach out to them – through his “Beverly Hills lawyer” – demonstrated that the singer was simply “trying to lesson the public outcry in his case.”
The Independent has contacted Scott’s representatives for comment.
While Drake performed alongside the “Goosebumps” singer, Apple Music faces legal action over the implementation of its multi-million deal for exclusive streaming rights of the event, which allegedly compromised attendees’ safety.