Astroworld set to release despite lawyers’ concerns

HOUSTON (Associated Press) – The experiences of terrified partygoers who couldn’t breathe and had no clear path to escape the massive crowd at last year’s deadly Astroworld music festival in Houston in a documentary due to be released Friday.

But lawyers for Live Nation, which is being sued for its role as a festival promoter, say they are concerned that publicity from the documentary, “Concert Crush: The Travis Scott Festival Tragedy,” may contaminate the jury’s lineup. gag order It was released in the case, but Live Nation lawyers say the attorney who filed lawsuits related to the tragedy was also involved in the production of the documentary.

Charlie Maine, the film’s director, said he thought he made a balanced and fair movie that tried to show the audience what happened.

“My job is to make the most honest, truthful and honest documentary from the victim’s point of view,” Min told the Associated Press. “We need to know these stories to prevent it from happening again.”

About 500 lawsuits were filed in the wake of the November 5 concert under the title Scott, the famous rapper. Ten people died Hundreds more were injured during the massive crowd. Scott is also sued.

The documentary, which opened in 11 cities in Texas including Austin, Dallas, and Houston, includes interviews with several people who survived the crowd wave. The film also features a mobile video filmed by concert-goers in which people can be heard repeatedly screaming for help.

said Frank Alvarez, who attended the ceremony but did not appear in the film.

Maine, who made documentaries about the 2018 fatal high school shooting in Houston and the violence along the US-Mexico border, said the film highlights what concertgoers experienced and what led to the tragedy.

The film suggests that Scott could have done more to prevent the conditions that led to the injuries, but Maine said it wasn’t a “successful piece towards Travis Scott”. He said she also wonders if others, including Live Nation and Houston police, could do more to improve safety or respond more quickly to danger. Maine said Scott, Live Nation and Houston police declined to be interviewed for the documentary. Houston Police They investigate the disaster.

In a report released this month, a task force set up by Texas Governor Greg Abbott revealed issues with permits for such events and called for “clearly defined triggers” to stop such a show.

Live Nation’s attorneys expressed their concerns in a letter this month to state Judge Kristin Hawkins, who deals with all pre-trial issues in the lawsuits.

Neil Mann and Kevin Jankowski, two of Live Nation’s attorneys, wrote in the letter.

But lawyers did not ask Hawkins to take any specific action regarding the documentary.

Mann and Yankowski did not respond to emails seeking comment. Live Nation said it was “sad” about what happened but denied responsibility.

Scott’s lawyers said in an email Thursday that they did not know if he had seen the documentary, and cited concerns raised by Live Nation when asked if they had any issues with it.

“Mr. Scott remains focused on his charitable work in his hometown of Houston and in low-income communities of color across the country, both of which are long-standing efforts,” his attorneys said.

Cassandra Burke Robertson, a law professor at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, said she would be shocked if a judge took any action regarding the documentary because of First Amendment concerns, even with a gag order.

“I think the public interest here in exploring what happened and avoiding similar tragedies in the future, that’s a really big interest. That’s likely to outweigh the interests of the specific outcome of the particular lawsuit,” Robertson said.

Brent Kohn, a lawyer representing about 1,500 concertgoers interviewed in the documentary, said he did not believe the film would affect the ability to choose an impartial jury if the case goes to trial, which could take years.

“I don’t think any lawyer in this case could fan the flames so much to change it…what would the public’s perception of all of this be,” Kuhn said.

Robertson, who was not involved in the lawsuit, said the fact that one of the film’s producers, Rick Ramos, is representing the party-goers who have filed lawsuits, may raise some ethical concerns. It was not clear how Ramos benefited financially from his participation in the documentary.

Ramos declined to comment Thursday.

Personally, I would not co-sponsor something like this during a pending civil litigation. I don’t think there is anything wrong with that. It’s just something I wouldn’t do, Kuhn said.

Maine said the questions asked about Ramos’ participation were valid but he made no secret of his involvement.

“People should see the movie and judge it for what it is,” Main said.


Follow Juan A Lozano on Twitter: