Travis Scott Faces Backlash From Astroworld Victims After Donating $5 Million To Charity
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Rapper Travis Scott has been met with backlash after announcing a $5 million donation for community initiatives.
Scott shared the news of the Project HEAL initiative in a post on Instagram yesterday, March 9, in which he explained that he has been 'taking the time and space to grieve, reflect and do [his] part to heal [his] community' in the months since the Astroworld Festival tragedy, where 10 people lost their lives as the crowd surged towards the stage.
The rapper, who had been performing when the incident took place, explained he wanted to use his 'resources and platform moving forward towards actionable change' in what he described as a 'lifelong journey' for himself and his family.
'While it’s easy for corporations and institutions to stay in the shadows, I feel as a leader in my community, I need to step up in times of need', Scott wrote, adding: 'I will always honor the victims of the Astroworld tragedy who remain in my heart forever.'
Project HEAL is described as a 'multi-tier initiative dedicated to addressing challenges facing today’s youth', and is set to encompass academic scholarships, mental health resources, a creative design centre and 'tech-driven solutions for event safety', NME reports.
However, critics have slammed the announcement as a publicity stunt from Scott, who has been sued in a combined lawsuit by hundreds of people who suffered as a result of the event.
Last week, the judge on the case issued a gag order to limit discussion and allow the case to be tried 'in the courtroom and not on social media or with press releases or other statements to the media', but Bob Hilliard, an attorney who represents 708 of the plaintiffs, claimed the announcement violated the order.
Scott's announcement has also been criticised by the grandparents of Astroworld’s youngest victim, who described the initiative as a publicity play, according to Rolling Stone.
Speaking to the DailyMail, Hilliard said: 'However well-intentioned Mr. Scott's belated largesse may or may not be, there seems no reason to issue a press release or announce the specific part of the initiative as it relates to putting money into concert safety and making sure fans are safe at shows, other than to improperly attempt and sway potential jurors with the message, "Look at me, I'm a good guy".
'Though Judge [Kristen] Hawkin’s order is primarily directed at counsel, Mr. Scott is also a party in this case, and should be held to the same reasonable restrictions, as he is much more capable of using his platform and his money to try and sway the entire Harris County jury pool, before one juror is actually selected,' Hilliard added.
Four tiers of funding have been announced within the initiative, including a donation to the US Conference of Mayors Task Force on Event Safety to help address safety issues for large live events.
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