Not everyone was enthused to hear about Travis Scott’s proposed Project HEAL initiative, which the Texas rapper announced earlier this week. Travis donated $5 million to local community-based funds such as HBCU scholarships and mental health programs, as well as the U.S. Conference of Mayors Task Force on Event Safety. However, the family of one of the victims of the Astroworld Festival disaster was unimpressed, calling the move a “PR stunt” that he could later use to make himself look good in court when the combined slew of cases against him goes to trial.
Bernon and Tericia Blount, the grandparents of Ezra Blount, the youngest of the Astroworld attendees who were killed as a result of the crowd crush during Travis’ headlining set at the festival, aren’t convinced Travis is just giving out of the goodness of his heart. Tericia told Rolling Stone, “It’s a PR stunt. He’s pretty much trying to sway the jurors before they’re even assembled. 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.” Bernon agreed, “Every time he does something like this, it’s an ongoing reminder.”
Meanwhile, the lawyer for Ezra’s father Treston Blount, who filed a separate lawsuit from the 9-year-old’s grandparents, believes that Travis’ Project HEAL announcement may have flouted court orders, violating a gag order instated to ensure objectivity from the jury. “Blount and the other plaintiffs herein do not have the high profile ability to sway public opinion as defendant Scott — an international music star — and his sophisticated media team do,” wrote Blount’s lawyer, Robert Hilliard, in an emergency motion to “immediately clarify” whether the gag order “applies equally to lawyers and parties.”
Meanwhile, Travis’ spokesperson, Stephanie Rawlings Blake, called Hilliard’s statement “shameful and beyond cynical,” continuing, “It is also disappointing that Mr. Hilliard would attack Project HEAL, a series of philanthropic gestures designed to give students and young people a leg up. Project HEAL is a continuation of Travis Scott’s longstanding work, including academic scholarships and creative design programs for underprivileged students.” Travis’ lawyers have since filed their own statements defending the star’s right to “make public statements about his ongoing philanthropic work, even as it relates to public safety.”