A massive new lawsuit seeking $2 billion in damages from Travis Scott, Drake, Live Nation, Apple and others has been filed on behalf of 282 plaintiffs linked to the deadly Astroworld tragedy that claimed the lives of 10 people in Houston.
The new complaint from lawyer Thomas J. Henry is the latest iteration of a fast-evolving case that has been growing exponentially since it was first filed on behalf of a single concertgoer, Kristian Paredes, on Nov. 8.
“The defendants stood to make an exorbitant amount of money off of this event, and they still chose to cut corners, cut costs, and put attendees at risk,” Henry said in a statement Thursday. “My clients want to ensure the defendants are held responsible for their actions, and they want to send the message to all performers, event organizers, and promoters that what happened at Astroworld cannot happen again.”
The underlying lawsuit alleges Apple’s multimillion dollar purchase, promotion and implementation of its exclusive online streaming rights played a critical role in the crowd-control disaster.
“Early reports from the investigation of the Astroworld catastrophe indicate that the premises were arranged in a fashion that best served Apple’s online streaming of the concert at the detriment to concertgoer safety,” the lawsuit states.
“Apple Music had cameras, camera stands, cameramen, and metal barriers surrounding each; these cameras effectively split the premises both horizontally and vertically by the metal barricades,” the paperwork claims. “The placement of cameras streaming for Apple Music’s broadcast effectively limited many concertgoers’ means of exit; this dangerous condition would inevitably prevent individuals from dispersing.”
Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the lawsuit Thursday.
“There has been multiple finger-pointing, much of which has been by city officials, who have sent inconsistent messages and have backtracked from original statements,” Scott’s lawyer Edwin F. McPherson said in a statement to Rolling Stone.
He called out Houston Police Chief Troy Finner for placing responsibility at Scott’s feet even though Finner told the New York Times that abruptly pulling the plug on a show with 50,000 mostly young attendees carried serious concerns related to “rioting.”
McPherson also said the show’s reported operations plan “designated that only the festival director and executive producers have authority to stop the show, neither of which is part of Travis’s crew.”
“This also runs afoul of HPD’s own previous actions when it shut down the power and sound at this very festival when the performance ran over five minutes back in 2019,” he said. “Investigations should start proceeding over finger-pointing, so that together, we can identify exactly what transpired and how we can prevent anything like this from happening again.”
On Tuesday, a separate lawsuit seeking at least $750 million from Scott, Drake, Apple, Live Nation and others was filed on behalf of 125 plaintiffs by lawyer Tony Buzbee.
Speaking to Rolling Stone, Buzbee said the defendants “ignored” a series of red flags and should be held liable. “When people say, ‘Tony, How can you sue Apple TV, the record labels and these other peripheral entities?’ Well I would suggest they threw in with this. They were promoting this, encouraging this and profiting from this,” he said. “It’s profits over people. And if the show doesn’t go on, people don’t get paid.”
He said no one was “incentivized to stop this show,” from the permitting process through the final song performed onstage, because so much money was at stake.
“I guarantee you, had the crowd attacked the stage or interfered with the performers themselves, oh my goodness, they would have called in every police officer within a hundred miles. But as long as the performers weren’t in any kind of jeopardy, who gives a shit about the people in the crowd, I guess, was the attitude. And it can’t be like that,” he said.
Scott, whose legal name is Jacques Webster, said in a Twitter post he was “absolutely devastated” that fans died in the crowd during his show at NRG Park. He added in a video message posted on Instagram that he “could just never imagine the severity of the situation” while he was performing.
Drake called the deadly concert a “devastating tragedy” in his own Instagram post. “I hate resorting to this platform to express an emotion as delicate as grief but this is where I find myself,” Drake wrote. “My heart is broken for the families and friends of those who lost their lives and for anyone who is suffering. I will continue to pray for all of them, and will be of service in any way I can, May God be with you all.”
Dozens of other Astroworld lawsuits have been filed in Harris County District Court in Houston, including one by the father of Ezra Blount, the 9-year-old boy who was trampled at the concert and lingered in a coma for days before he died Sunday at a children’s hospital.
Buzbee told Rolling Stone he expects the various suits will be consolidated in a single courtroom in Houston under a judge appointed by the Supreme Court of Texas, likely in the next 60 days.