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According to Rolling Stone, in a response to a motion filed on Wednesday seeking to maintain a gag order on Scott, in the wake of hundreds of lawsuits after the deadly Astroworld concert last November that led to the deaths of 10 attendees, Scott’s lawyers are defending his right to “make public statements about his ongoing philanthropic work, even as it relates to public safety” and argued that it would be “overly broad” for the judge to include Scott’s ability to talk about his new charity in the gag order.
Scott’s lawyers wrote in the new filing obtained by the outlet: “It also runs afoul of the first amendment, which guarantees parties like Mr. Scott the right to speak publicly about important philanthropic work that began long before the Astroworld Festival or… almost immediately afterward.”
Earlier this week, the grandparents of the youngest victim of the Astroworld tragedy have called Travis Scott’s recent effort to launch a new $5 million philanthropic project supporting safety at large-scale live events, “a PR stunt.”
The grandmother for Ezra Blount, who is one of the victims of the event, which saw a crowd in Houston at the now-infamous Astroworld Festival trample several victims as Scott continued the show amidst the chaos, derided Scott’s new “Project HEAL” on Wednesday (March 9).
And the lawyers representing Ezra’s reportedly father filed an emergency motion that alleged violation of a court-ordered gag order.
The family of Ezra believes Scott’s efforts are merely a publicity effort to deflect blame. Ezra was just 9 years old.
Scott’s initiative allocates money for the U.S. Conference of Mayors Task Force on Event Safety and a “tech-driven solution” to address safety changes at big major events.
“It’s a PR stunt. He’s pretty much trying to sway the jurors before they’re even assembled,” the Texas-based grandmother told the outlet, “He’s trying to make himself look good, but it doesn’t look that way to someone with our eyes. What we’re seeing is that he’s done wrong, and now he’s trying to be the good guy and trying to give his own verdict on safety.”
Ezra is one of 10 people who died from events that began during Scott’s set at Astroworld in November 2021.
Robert Hilliard, the lead lawyer for Ezra’s father, Treston Blount, said in a court filing on Wednesday that Scott’s efforts are “designed to gain goodwill and prejudice Blount and the other plaintiffs’ ability to obtain a fair trial in this case.”
As American Songwriter reported, Scott’s four-tiered initiative called Project HEAL will support community-based philanthropic initiatives supporting youth in a series of specific donations, including $1 million in scholarships for students at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU). Under the program, the Waymon Webster Scholarship Fund will offer $10,000 scholarships to HBCU seniors to help pay for their continued education.
“My grandfather was an educator who made a difference in thousands of young lives throughout his life,” said Scott in a statement. “He is a major influence on me and countless others, whose dreams he believed in, whose hopes he invested in, and whose futures he made big. It’s in his spirit that we are creating projects and programs that will look to the future of our communities and create hope and excellence in as many lives as possible.”
The second part of Scott’s initiative will focus on youth struggling with mental health issues and fund digital counseling services and hotlines offering free support to low-income families in collaboration with Dr. Janice Beal, programming director of “Well Being In Color,” a mental health education service for students of color.
Scott will also work on expanding his own CACT.US Youth Design Center, described as a nonprofit “maker space for young artists, designers, tech innovators, including free studio space, workspace, tool spaces, job and apprenticeship training, youth education and events.”
The fourth and final initiative of Project HEAL will address safety during large-scale live events with Scott funding the U.S. Conference of Mayors Task Force of Event Safety, a collective of stakeholders from various levels of government, public health, event management, and emergency response. Under the program, the task force will address safety challenges faced by future large-scale events and release a comprehensive report of safety recommendations.
Following the Astroworld tragedy, thousands of lawsuits were filed against Scott, including 400 that have been consolidated into a larger suit.
“Over the past few months I’ve been taking the time and space to grieve, reflect and do my part to heal my community,” said Scott. “Most importantly, I want to use my resources and platform moving forward towards actionable change. This will be a lifelong journey for me and my family.”