Travis Scott

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Travis Scott’s Astroworld Tragedy Trial Delayed Over Appeal From Apple

  /  05.03.2024

Travis Scott’s first civil trial concerning the 2021 Astroworld Festival disaster has been delayed after a last-minute appeal from Apple. 

The tech giant, which was targeted for its role in livestreaming the event, contended that it’s protected under free speech rights. Originally scheduled to start on May 6, the court proceeding is now on hold and pending a ruling from the First District Court of Appeals in Houston. On Thursday (May 2), Justice Sarah Beth Landau set a May 10 deadline for Apple to present its case. 

“Choosing to broadcast an event is what makes an entity a member of the media,” Apple attorney Kent Rutter argued, per Houston Landing. “Even if they’re just broadcasting an event, that is surely enough.”

“If a CNN camera at a news conference fell on somebody, the First Amendment doesn’t say they get out of it,” plaintiff lawyer Jason Itkin said. “The reality is, your honor, that the First Amendment, we say in our brief, does not give you a license to kill people.”

Apple further argued that its involvement was minimal and akin to a news organization, which would afford it special protections from liability. The company claimed that holding it responsible could dampen free speech rights across media.

“Allowing plaintiffs to pursue Apple under state tort law for exercising its free speech rights would have a significant chilling effect,” the corporation wrote in a motion earlier this year. “Recognizing such a legal duty, in this case, would be entirely unprecedented and would impose significant burdens on broadcasters and livestreamers that are frequently bystanders at events.”

Scott’s defense team took a similar approach. His attorneys claimed that crowd safety and security is “not the job of performing artists.”

In 2023, Scott released his fourth studio album, UTOPIA. The standout track “MY EYES” saw the Houston rapper discussing his daily struggles and the burdens he carries following the Astroworld incident.

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