The Astroworld tragedy is messy and complicated enough without adding rumors to the mix.
Unfortunately, this is exactly the kind of incident that tends to incite wild speculation. In this case, stories emerged that someone was “going around and injecting folks with a syringe” during Travis Scott‘s performance on Friday night, as an alleged Astroworld insider told TMZ. This claim was backed up by Houston PD, who said a security guard had been pricked in the neck and had to be revived by Narcan.
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This claim was met with skepticism by fans on Twitter, who pointed out the flaws in this tale:
so medics weren’t able to get from point a to b to save lives & people couldn’t even lift up the unconscious bodies beside them bc of the tightly packed crowd, but somehow a mysterious person was able to freely move throughout the crowd to randomly inject people? #AstroWorld https://t.co/Vw5igxfqR5
— sakina (@sakinasays) November 6, 2021
that crowd was packed like a clown car I’d be impossible for someone to inject one person, let alone multiple w/o drawing attention to themselves,& this coming from within Astroworld management is odd since i would still be negligence if you saw that & still didn’t shut down https://t.co/jV35xIo2fd
— ???? (@venusiandamsel) November 6, 2021
Nah I’m still reeling at that bad crisis PR, while kids were falling out, losing shoes, and other belongings someone had the super human strength to mass inject people, while an astroworld organizer supposedly observed. What
— chloé 4pf (@ChampagneNoona) November 6, 2021
The fear-mongering surrounding injections is getting out of hand. Do you know how hard it is to inject a substance into someone unknowingly? Without finding a vein? That Astroworld incident is scary enough without the police making some shit up to shift the blame upon the public.
— syvn????️???? (@syvnstar) November 6, 2021
So, was this just a bad PR move on Scott’s part to shift blame? Well, on Wednesday, Houston Police Chief Troy Finner walked back the story in a press conference. He admitted:
“We did locate that security guard — his story’s not consistent with that. He says he was struck in his head, he went unconscious, he woke up in the security tent. He says no one injected drugs in him, so we want to clear that part up.”
As of now, there is no evidence that anyone was being randomly and non-consensually injected with drugs. In fact, experts told Insider that such an act would be “staggeringly rare,” and rumors to the contrary are “almost always nothing more than urban legends and are not borne in reality.”
Then how did this urban legend emerge from the Astroworld crisis? TMZ cited a source from within the festival, suggesting that the bad information originated from within the rapper’s team. However, his lawyer has turned the blame on Houston PD. In a statement, attorney Edwin F. McPherson slammed the “finger-pointing” by city officials, “who have sent inconsistent messages and have backtracked from original statements” concerning the festival.
McPherson told the outlet:
“Houston Police Chief Troy Finner was quoted in the New York Times as saying ‘You cannot just close when you got 50,000 and over 50,000 individuals. We have to worry about rioting, riots, when you have a group that’s that young.’ Yet, just a short time later, Chief Finner states the responsibility to stop the show falls on Travis.”
“It was reported that the Operations Plan designated that only the festival director and executive producers have authority to stop the show, neither of which is part of Travis’s crew. This also runs afoul of HPD’s own previous actions when it shut down the power and sound at this very festival when the performance ran over 5 minutes back in 2019.”
Related: Travis DID Stop Astroworld Performance For Distressed Fan, New Video Shows
The lawyer concluded:
“Investigations should start proceeding over finger-pointing so that together, we can identify exactly what transpired and how we can prevent anything like this from happening again.”
Indeed, Finner had previously asked for “time to do a proper investigation,” and on Wednesday insisted that “rumors and speculation” were “harmful to the families” of victims. Yet he had been the one who gave credence to a completely unconfirmed (and according to Insider’s experts, “pretty unlikely”) story about drug injections.
While it’s still unclear who will ultimately be held responsible for the carnage at Astroworld, it seems as though both the police and whatever “source” inside the festival spoke with TMZ are equally accountable for the fear mongering tactics surrounding this story. The rise of fentanyl-related deaths is alarming enough without these baseless rumors in an attempt to pass the blame. Similarly, what happened at Astroworld is disturbing enough without throwing drug-injecting boogeymen into the mix.
[Image via WENN]