Hulu Removes Astroworld Documentary After Getting Backlash

Less than a month after the tragic crowd crush at the Astroworld Festival in Houston, Hulu released a documentary about the incident, even though officials are still investigating the cause. Twitter users quickly criticized the Disney-owned streaming platform for hastily putting the special together, but it was still released on Wednesday. Hours later, Hulu users began reporting on Twitter that the ABC News special, Astroworld: Concert from Hell, was no longer playing on the app and website.

When many saw the special was already online Wednesday, there was instant backlash, with many calling it out as distasteful. Others suggested Hulu scrambled to produce a documentary too quickly after the tragedy. "Hulu making a documentary about Astroworld is in poor taste all around. People are still burying their loved ones. The legal cases haven't even started," one person wrote in a viral tweet. "Great documentaries are done when all the facts are laid out. Not enough time has passed to fully discuss this." Another person wondered, "Hulu already dropped an Astroworld documentary?! How do they move so quickly with these specials?"

Astroworld: Concert From Hell was not a full-length documentary series like many of the true-crime limited series that are popular on streaming platforms, but instead a special produced by ABC News. "Travis Scott's Astroworld Festival was supposed to be the concert of a lifetime. But it turned into a tragic nightmare," the special's description reads. "A minute-by-minute look at what happened in the crowd, the young victims who were killed, and what happens next." 

One Twitter user who managed to watch the special before it was taken down praised it, noting that it focused more on interviews with people who were there. "Unpopular opinion…I watched the Hulu Astroworld documentary and it was good. It spoke with grieving families, concertgoers and shared who the victims were," the Twitter user wrote. "It was not a negative slant. It cleared up misinformation…after large tragedies these documentaries are up within weeks."

During the first day of the Astroworld Festival on Nov. 5, there was a crowd crush that led to the deaths of 10 people, including 9-year-old Ezra Blount, who died on Nov. 14. Over 300 people were treated for injuries, including 25 people who were hospitalized the night of the concert. The festival was founded by rapper Travis Scott, who had offered to pay the funeral expenses for the victims.

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However, some of the victims' families have rejected that offer. Michael Lyons, the attorney for victim Mizra "Danish" Baig's family, said they believed the offer was a public relations move to "soften" people's views of Scott. "Sadly, for my clients, a check from Travis Scott... is not going to relieve the pain and suffering that they presently are experiencing," Lyons told the Associated Press. "I think it will only make it worse." Lawyers representing the families of Blount and victim John Hilgert have also declined Scott's offer.

Meanwhile, Scott and festival promoter Live Nation have hired prominent lawyers as the lawsuits from victims' families are filed, reports the Houston Chronicle. Daniel Petrocelli, head of litigation for global corporate law firm O'Melveny & Myers, will lead Scott's team. Petrocelli is best known for representing Fred Goldman in O.J. Simpson's 1997 wrongful death trial. Live Nation hired Houston law firm Susman Godfrey to lead its team.