As the lawsuits mount against Travis Scott and Live Nation over the rapper’s fatal Astroworld festival where eight people died after they were reportedly trampled and suffocated by a surging crowd, several of his one-time fans have had enough.
Disgusted that Scott’s Spotify monthly listeners had increased by nearly 200,000 between the end of October and the tragic events on Friday night in Houston, some users have encouraged others to boycott his music, selecting an option on his Spotify artist profile that will block the play of all of his songs for that user.
The hope is that at the very least the 30-year-old won’t profit from his newly-released songs “Escape Plan” and “Mafia,” and perhaps urge Spotify to reconsider having the artist’s photo featured on its popular playlists Rap Caviar and New Music Friday.
Many want Spotify to take similar action to Fortnite, which removed a Scott emote that features a snippet from the rapper’s song “Out West” from the game’s shop after users complained of wanting a refund, reported The Verge.
So far, Scott has issued a rambling video statement in which he addressed the concert, noting he was “devastated” and was working with local authorities, yet stopped shy of directly apologizing. On Monday, his camp confirmed that he would be issuing a refund to all concertgoers and was dropping out of an upcoming performance in Las Vegas this weekend.
But that’s just scratching the surface of accountability, several former fans told The Daily Beast, saying Scott has a long way to go before they would ever consider listening to his music again and definitely before they ever attended another concert of his.
“I just feel physically sick listening to his music at this point,” former fan Shanley, who nearly flew in from Maryland to attend Astroworld, told The Daily Beast. “I wish that cancel culture would actually do its job and de-platform him, because everything that he’s done in his career, every choice he's made, has led up to this moment where so many people have lost their lives.”
“His lyrics, the way he incites crowds, the things he says when on stage, the way he encourages ‘rage mentality’ when you go to his shows, the way he disrespects authorities, security, police, and staff—anyone that’s meant to keep the concert safe,” she continued. “It’s his way or the highway. He doesn’t care what security the cops want or what they’re trying to do to keep everybody safe.”
Clips of Scott’s past performances have been circulating in the wake of Friday’s tragedy, where the “Sicko Mode” rapper encouraged his frenzied fans to mosh and rush the stage. He once ordered a crowd at a concert in Switzerland in 2015 to “fuck up” a concertgoer who he accused of trying to take his shoe, stopping the show to tell his fans, “Get that motherfucker, get him! Fuck him up!”
Scott was most recently arrested in 2017 after several people, including a security guard and police officer, were injured in Arkansas after he hyped up his crowd to bypass security. Two years earlier, Scott pleaded guilty to reckless conduct charges following an incident during his performance at Lollapalooza in Chicago where he urged the crowd to rush the stage.
It’s part of Scott’s shtick, as he rapped on his 2018 song “Stargazing”: “It ain’t a mosh pit if ain’t no injuries / I got ‘em stage divin’ out of nosebleeds.” A year before the song came out, Scott egged on his fans to leap from the balconies in Terminal 5, promising that the people below would catch them.
But Kyle Green claims he was pushed from the balcony by the hyped-up crowd and years after the accident still uses a wheelchair. Green’s attorney, who is representing the 27-year-old in a civil suit against Scott and Terminal 5, told Buzzfeed News that Scott’s lyrics “encourage violence and injury at his concerts.”
“Make no mistake about it, his desire for chaos caused this horrific tragedy,” he added.
Another former Scott fan, Holly Jen, told The Daily Beast that while she’s never seen Scott perform live, she has several of his songs on her Spotify playlists. Learning that she can mute his music ensures that “he won’t ever earn a penny from me.”
She waves off the notion that the push for Scott to be held accountable through boycotting his music or lawsuits could be regarded as so-called cancel culture. “When people have died, I don’t think you can label it that to be honest,” she said.
“I’ve seen many artists such as Harry Styles, Adele, Liam Gallagher, Niall Horan, and more all stop shows through fear of this same thing happening, yet he didn’t seem to care,” she added. “I just have no respect for people like that and then his daughter is there as well. To even gain a shred of respect he would have to apologize and donate some serious cash to the families and to charities and think about his actions in the future.”
Allie Holt also removed Scott from her Spotify playlists, pointing out that it’s hard to support an artist who would stop a concert because he thought someone was trying to steal his shoe but not when multiple people were dying just below him.
“Travis just kept on performing after people were screaming for help,” she said. “Even when there was an ambulance in the crowd. It was so disturbing watching the footage from people via Reddit, Twitter, and TikTok.”
“He may take accountability but only so he can go back on stage without looking like an ass. His lack of empathy and compassion—he posted a lengthy Instagram story afterwards and it seemed so forced and just not genuine at all.”
“Cancel culture is definitely a tricky thing, as it definitely goes too far—I think it should go as a case-by-case basis,” she added. “For Travis, I wouldn’t say he should be canceled, more so held accountable and deal with the consequences of his actions. I think he should get sued by the families of the victims and those who were hurt. I believe he was inciting violence and put people in danger that night.”
Frequent festivalgoer Lennox Elliot said he has attended many concerts where crowds were packed in and people were beginning to become squashed against each other, but security had always quickly stepped in. However, Elliot said seeing the videos from Astroworld where security personnel and cameramen ignored people’s pleas for help seemed inhumane.
“Seeing the videos after the incident just horrified me,” Elliot said. “He should be held accountable. In the videos on stage, you can hear ‘stop the show’—that’s not in any way a cheer for him to go on.”
Muting Scott on Spotify is “only a small fraction of what I can do,” Elliot explained. “And of course, spreading as much information I know to show how horrid this event actually was.”
Chris Mullins attended Astroworld with his girlfriend, buying VIP tickets in an attempt to escape the masses, already expecting the show would be hectic. Instead, nothing could prepare him for people “dropping like flies” right before him both in the general admission and VIP areas.
“It was overwhelming and [my girlfriend] began to collapse at one point,” Mullins said. “Luckily, we were right next to a security guard, and he pulled her over the barricade, and I immediately followed. Someone next to us passed out and I’m still uncertain if this person made it out alive or not.
“I won’t be attending any festivals for a while, I’m sure. It was a traumatic experience and it’s definitely going to take some time before I can even consider attending one again.”
Mullins said he has empathy for Scott but believes while Scott refunding tickets is a nice gesture, he’s not worried about getting his money back. “More so my concern is focused on the victims and their families,” he said. “An idea would be if survivors would like to donate some of their refund to the families, that may be a good start.”