The recent tragedy at Travis Scott’s Astroworld Festival calls into question the serious nature of “fan behavior” and how fans will take a celebrity’s side even when they’re at fault. This event and its aftermath is a prime example of how parasocial relationships can dangerously blind people from the bad things their favorite celebrities do.
The stampeding of the crowd containing about 50,000 concert attendees resulted in the deaths of 10 people and many more injured. Various fans uploaded videos of the incident, where an ambulance and medical personnel could clearly be seen while Scott continued to perform.
“I’ve been to Astroworld all three years,” said freshman business student Hunter Ybarra. “Stampeding through the gates was not anything new, but this year was different… Looking back is such a shock to me, as people were dying so close to me and I had no idea.”
Many people, including the staff that worked the venue that night, have called for Scott to be held accountable for his reckless endangerment. Multiple concert organizers have already come out in support of the victims, and petitions have been started to pull him from major festivals such as Coachella.
Many fans are taking a step back and realizing that Scott’s past behavior of encouraging people to storm gates and what not has led to an unsafe environment at their concerts. Many are also holding Scott accountable for not stopping the concert when things started to get out of hand.
Despite the backlash, Scott has still received a plethora of support from other devoted fans, who believe that he was not responsible for what happened at the concert. This issue continues to be a divisive issue within his fandom and beyond.
Scott encouraging people to stampede and overcrowd the festival, and not stopping the performance has indirectly led to the deaths of innocent people. Yet many fans still feel compelled to come to his defense.
Some may defend him because he was under his own management, and maybe didn’t see the deaths of the concert goers. However, Scott has a history of encouraging dangerous behavior at his concerts. Additionally, there is no question as to if he saw the ambulance or not. He did, but still didn’t stop performing while people were dying.
Fans unfortunately continue to defend his actions, and there may be a psychological explanation for this.
Research for this behavior, often dubbed “Celebrity Worship Syndrome,” has been conducted since the 1950s. These studies have shown that celebrities may form parasocial relationships with fans, or interactions that are more intimate in nature and can cause fans to view the celebrity as more of a close friend than just a stranger they admire.
A fan’s love for their favorite artist isn’t always bad, but it can lead fans to worship their favorite artists in an unhealthy way. They can become almost indoctrinated, and defend their celebrity to the end no matter what they did. This is shown in stan culture where people will dogpile on those who dare insult their favorite artist.
Travis Scott’s incident is no different, especially because this was not his first time encouraging bad behavior at his shows.
His fans love him and so they will defend him and his actions, even if those actions are bad. This should not be the case. Fans who defend their favorite celebrities on default need to change
Fans should hold their favorite celebrity accountable whenever they make a mistake, especially if this mistake results in the loss of human life. No one should worship a celebrity to the extent that they are defending someone who bears some responsibility for the deaths of his fans.
Even if they are your favorite, celebrities need to be held accountable for their actions.
Michael King is a history freshman who can be reached at [email protected]