People want brands to cut ties with Travis Scott following the incidents at Astroworld Fest in Houston that resulted in eight deaths, according to a Campaign US Twitter poll.
8 people, including several minors died while attending Astroworld Fest in Houston on Friday, a festival curated by rap artist Travis Scott.— Campaign US (@CampaignLiveUS) November 8, 2021
Brands including Nike, Anheuser-Busch and Byredo have collabs with Scott.
Should these brands end their partnerships with the rapper?
Scott’s concert on November 5 turned deadly shortly after it started when crowd surges led people to faint, go into cardiac arrest and get trampled. In addition to those who died, including two teens ages 14 and 16, more than 300 people were injured.
In the aftermath of the event, Epic Games-owned Fortnite removed the Travis Scott emote, a customized dance move, from its platform. Short film and content production company Mega 64 also cut ties with the rapper.
While Nike has not responded to Campaign US’ requests for comment, the apparel brand has removed a dedicated microsite for Scott’s upcoming sneaker release with the brand.
Despite numerous requests for comment, Anheuser-Busch, Byredo, McDonald’s and other brands that have worked with Scott have not responded.
But legal action against the rapper has been swift. At least seven lawsuits have been filed against Scott, Live Nation, NRG Stadium, Scorecom and rapper Drake, who was also at the show. Personal injury attorney Thomas J. Henry, who represents several of the victims and their families, also expects to target Apple in lawsuits, which had exclusive rights to live-stream the event on Apple Music.
On social media, devastated people have directed blame to Scott, the event planners and all those who might have stopped the show.
So far, Scott has publicly responded on social media and agreed to pay for the funeral arrangements of those killed. He is also refunding all concert-goers and has partnered with BetterHelp to provide one-month free counseling sessions to attendees.
But the scandal is far from over, as Henry said he expects to handle this case by jury trial and hopes to get a court date within a year.
As Campaign US editor Alison Weissbrot noted, advertisers must tread lightly when considering celebrity or influencer endorsements, especially those leaning into strong purpose-driven messaging. For now, brands that work with Scott have a tough call to make.