Rapper Travis Scott has been accused of violating a court-issued gag order by attorneys representing victims killed at his Astroworld Festival in 2021.
A gag order restricts what a lawyer for a plaintiff or defendant can say about a case publicly, including on social media.
The order was issued in February by District Court Judge Kristen Hawkins to uphold Scott’s right to an impartial jury and a fair trial. During the March 1 hearing, Hawkins said lawyers could discuss the facts of the case as discussed in court but she did not want them making their case in the court of public opinion.
“This case should be tried in the courtroom and not on social media or with press releases or other statements to the media,” Hawkins said.
Brent Coon, an attorney representing 1,500 attendees seeking $10 billion in damages, told Fox News at the time that it could be years before the case goes to trial or reaches any settlements.
On March 29, lawyers representing thousands of people who attended the Houston, Texas, event said their clients had been sent emails offering medical and mental health aid.
The email blasts were distributed by a subsidiary of LiveNation, which partnered with Scott for the event.
Scott also publicly announced aid through his ”Project H.E.AL. group” in a post shared on his personal Instagram account on March 8. The initiative offers $5 million in funding to address safety issues at large-scale events and concerts, like Astrowrold.
“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 honor the victims of the Astroworld tragedy who remain in my heart forever,” Scott wrote as part of the post.
The lawyers contend Scott wanted to influence potential jurors and to salvage his reputation.
“Bob Hilliard, one of the attorneys representing the family of 9-year-old Ezra Blount, the youngest person to die from injuries during the festival, said during a court hearing Monday that Scott used the power of his social media presence to address concert safety, one of the issues being debated by the lawsuits,” reports AP News.
Attorneys for the rapper argued that the fund did not violate the gag order and that is part of his established history of charitable initiatives.
Judge Hawkins did not rule on the gag order. Attorneys for the plaintiffs left the court silently following the hearing, without speaking to reporters.
A total of 10 people died from compression asphyxiation after the crowd surged at the November festival. Hundreds were injured as a result of the chaos. Scott came under fire after videos of him continuing to perform despite efforts from the crowds to get his attention circulated online.
Scott performed for the first time since the event at a pre-Oscar party hosted by Darren Dzienciol and Richie Akiva at a private home in el-Air, California, on March 26.