Hulu pulls Astroworld documentary after social media backlash


December 3, 2021

US video streaming service Hulu has pulled a documentary about the Astroworld tragedy that first appeared on the platform on Wednesday.

Called ‘Astroworld: Concert From Hell’, the programme’s official blurb said: “Travis Scott’s Astroworld festival was supposed to be the concert of a lifetime. But it turned into a tragic nightmare. A minute-by-minute look at what happened in the crowd, the young victims who were killed, and what happens next”.

Ten people died and hundreds more were injured as a result of a crowd surge that occurred during Scott’s headline set at the latest edition of the festival he founded, which took place on 5 Nov in Houston, Texas. A criminal investigation is underway aiming to discover exactly how the deadly crowd surge was allowed to happen, while Scott and the festival’s promoters – Live Nation and its subsidiary Scoremore – are facing nearly 250 lawsuits in relation to the incident.

With so many questions still unanswered about what happened behind the scenes at Astroworld – and with so many people still mourning those who died during the crowd surge – many felt it was highly inappropriate for Hulu to already be releasing a documentary about the event. And, somewhat unsurprisingly, a social media backlash quickly followed.

Many of those criticising the documentary probably recalled Hulu’s 2019 documentary on the Fyre Festival, and assumed this was another similar high profile commission from the streaming service, albeit one turned around much more quickly. However, in response to the online backlash, Hulu has insisted that is not the case.

Its Astroworld documentary is actually a news special that was produced and aired last month by Houston-based TV station KTRK. That station is owned by ABC, the TV network owned by Disney, which is in turn the majority shareholder in Hulu.

A spokesperson for the streaming service told reporters: “This was an investigative local news special from ABC13/KTRK-TV in Houston that originally aired on 20 Nov. This was not a Hulu documentary and has since been removed to avoid confusion”.

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