In the immediate aftermath of the deadly November 5th Astroworld crowd surge during Travis Scott‘s set that has now killed ten people, the rapper and festival host publicly announced his intention to cover the funeral costs for those who died. Now Rolling Stone reports that, of those ten killed, five families have refused the rapper’s offer.
As Rolling Stone reported on Monday, the family of nine-year-old Ezra Blount—the youngest victim thus far claimed by Astroworld—told Scott’s legal team they would not accept his monetary offer to cover funeral expenses. Now four other families have reportedly also turned down the offer that lawyers say is more a publicity stunt than an act of contrition. Instead, lawyers for the families say they will let the courts decide proper remuneration for the loss of life.
Representatives for the five families who refused compensation for funeral costs include Philip Corboy, who represents the families of 21-year-old friends Jacob Jurinek and Franco Patino; Tony Buzbee, who represents the family of 21-year-old Axel Acosta; and Richard Mithoff, who represents the family of 14-year-old John Hilgert. All of the attorneys have described to Rolling Stone a pervasive feeling in dealing with Scott’s representatives that this was merely an attempt to smooth over public relations rather than provide any of the families some solace.
“It was not an offer [the Hilgerts] were going to seriously consider,” Mithoff says. “Of all the things this case is about, that’s the least of any concern. This family is set on making change and ensuring this never happens at a concert again. I find offering to pay for funerals frankly demeaning and really inappropriate to the magnitude of the tragedy that unfolded.”
Corboy recounted being contacted by representatives for Scott, originally by a criminal defense attorney and then by Daniel Petrocelli—who represented Fred Goldman in his 1997 wrongful death suit against O.J. Simpson—who Scott soon hired after the tragedy. Corboy said he had brief discussions with Jurinek and Patino’s families who quickly realized “that all he was trying to do was trying to lessen the public outcry on his case. It took them each about three seconds to say ‘No, no no.'”
“If he’s trying to impress upon the families that he’s sincere and has concern for them and realize that funerals can be expensive, what Scott’s team did is not the way to do it,” Corboy said. “You don’t get a piece of paper in the mail from a lawyer in Beverly Hills who says he represents Travis Scott. These families are raw right now; that lacks any personal touch.”
A representative for Scott declined Rolling Stone‘s request for comment. Lawyers for Astroworld victims Bharti Shahani, Danish Baig, Madison Dubiski, and Rudy Peña either declined to comment or did not reply to a request for comment.
Buzbee says he received a call from a local attorney but never returned it.
“It’s bullshit,” he 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.”
[H/T Rolling Stone]