As previously reported, Travis Scott announced Project HEAL on Tuesday, in an effort to focus on community philanthropy and investment.
On Wednesday, the grandparents of Astroworld victim Ezra Blount called out the safety initiative as a PR stunt, with Ezra’s dad filing an emergency motion reportedly violating a Feb. 15 gag order placed on the rapper after the hundreds of lawsuits following the music festival tragedy.
According to Rolling Stone, on Thursday, Scott’s lawyers filed new paperwork defending his right to “make public statements about his ongoing philanthropic work.”
Tericia Blount, the grandmother of 9-year-old Ezra who died from injuries sustained in the Astroworld stampede, was shocked to hear that the $5 million Project HEAL included funding for the U.S. Conference of Mayors Task Force on Event Safety and a “tech-driven solution” to prevent anything like the Astroworld tragedy from occurring again.
“It’s a PR stunt. He’s pretty much trying to sway the jurors before they’re even assembled,” the Texas grandmother told Rolling Stone. “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.”
In the emergency filing by the lawyer representing Ezra’s dad, Treston Blount, the announcement of the Cactus Jack rapper’s philanthropy was “designed to gain goodwill and prejudice Blount and the other plaintiffs’ ability to obtain a fair trial in this case.”
The gag order was signed by presiding Judge Kristen Hawkins of the 11th District Court of Harris County after nearly 500 lawsuits pertaining to the Astroworld Festival were consolidated into one.
While a spokesperson for Scott, Stephanie Rawlings Blake, called the emergency motion “shameful and beyond cynical,” Ezra’s grandfather Bernon Blount said on Wednesday, “Every time he does something like this, it’s an ongoing reminder.”
The judge did not immediately rule on the emergency motion.