The family of nine-year-old Ezra Blount, who died following the “mass casualty” crowd surge incident at Travis Scott‘s Astroworld Festival in Houston earlier this month, has rejected the rapper’s offer to cover funeral expenses.
Ezra Blount was the youngest of the 10 people who died as a result of the crowd crush that took place during Scott’s headline set at Astroworld on November 5, which Ezra attended with his father, Treston Blount. Ezra was reportedly knocked to the ground and trampled while his father fell unconscious.
The boy was eventually taken to hospital and placed in a medically-induced coma, following critical injury to major internal organs, including his heart, brain, kidney and liver. Ezra died the evening of November 14.
Days after the events of Astroworld, Scott promised to cover the funeral costs for victims of the incident, which claimed the lives of 10 people and left hundreds injured. A statement at the time said it was “the first of many steps Travis plans on taking as part of his personal vow to assist those affected throughout their grieving and recovery process”.
Rolling Stone reports that an offer to pay for Blount’s funeral expenses was sent to the Blount family’s lawyer Bob Hilliard and co-counsel Ben Crump on November 24, the day after Ezra’s funeral took place.
The letter, written by Scott’s lawyer Daniel Petrocelli, expressed that the rapper was “devastated” by the events of Astroworld and “grieves for the families whose loves one died or were injured”.
“Travis is committed to doing his part to help the families who have suffered and begin the long process of healing in the Houston community. Toward that end, Travis would like to pay for the funeral expenses for Mr. Blount’s son,” it continued.
Petrocelli noted that acceptance of Scott’s offer would “have no effect” on the negligence lawsuit filed against Scott, Live Nation and others by Ezra’s father. The letter came after Scott’s team had previously reached out to Crump about a potential in-person meeting between the rapper and Blount’s family, to which they also declined.
In a response viewed by Rolling Stone, Hilliard wrote back to Petrocelli, declining the offer. “I have no doubt Mr. Scott feels remorse. His journey ahead will be painful. He must face and hopefully see that he bears some of the responsibility for this tragedy,” it read.
“There may be, and I hope there is, redemption and growth for him on the other side of what this painful process will be — and perhaps one day, once time allows some healing for the victims and acceptance of responsibility by Mr. Scott and others, Treston and Mr. Scott might meet, as there is also healing in that,” Hilliard continued.
“To lose a child in the manner Treston lost Ezra compounds the pain. As a parent, Treston cannot help but agonize over the terrible idea that Ezra’s last minutes were filled with terror, suffering, suffocation and worst of all surrounded by strangers, his dad unconscious underneath the uncontrolled crowd.”
In the weeks since the tragedy at Astroworld unfolded, numerous lawsuits have been filed against Scott, promoters Live Nation, and other entities involved with the festival.
Last week, it was reported that the parents of John Hilgert, a 14-year-old who died during Scott’s set, had filed a lawsuit against Scott and Live Nation Worldwide. Two security guards who were contracted to work the festival also filed a lawsuit last week, claiming they both sustained injuries during Scott’s set.
Earlier this month, attorney Thomas J. Henry filed a $2billion lawsuit over the incident on behalf of 282 people who hired him for legal representation, naming Scott, Live Nation, Drake (who appeared onstage during Scott’s set) and more as defendants.
“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,” Henry commented in a statement at the time.