Since the tragic events at Astroworld on November 5 in Houston, several petitions have circled the web, demanding attention and action.
It seems that one petition may have served its purpose.
Variety has reported that Scott may not be performing at Coachella, referencing a petition to remove him from the lineup that garnered more than 60,000 signatures. A source told the magazine that Coachella organizers informed Scott’s agent that they were planning on pulling the rapper from the lineup, albeit with a 25% “kill fee” for the cancellation. Scott had been set to headline the already sold-out 2022 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival alongside Rage Against the Machine.
The petition, which can be found on change.org, called for “AEG, Paul Tollet and Goldenvoice to remove [Travis Scott] as performer at all of their festivals.” As of the time of this writing, the petition has 61,053 signatures. That number continues to rise at a slow but steady pace.
While the petition cannot be directly linked to reports that Coachella’s organizers are pulling Scott from the festival lineup, it shows that tens of thousands of people agreed with the petition’s call to action. Acts like this can put pressure on event organizers, venues, and performers to make significant changes.
What Is a Petition? Is It Legally Binding?
A petition is a “formal written request, typically one signed by many people, appealing to authority with respect to a particular cause.” Today, many petitions are created and signed online.
Online petitions like the calling for the removal of Travis Scott from festival lineups typically require a person to provide their name and email address to sign. Once it receives enough signatures, an online petition will usually be delivered to the subject/s of the petition. Some petitions can be set up to email the subject/s every time they receive a new signature.
There are pros and cons to online petitions. One of the most obvious involves fake names or repeat signatures, which can undermine the validity of an otherwise promising petition. However, petition websites can use email confirmations, IP checks, captchas, and even phone numbers and other identification numbers (driver’s license or passport information) to combat fake signatures.
Famous Online Petitions & What They’ve Accomplished
One of the first successful online petitions was written in 1998 with the intention of getting the New York Mets to re-sign catcher Mike Piazza. The petition got 10,316 signatures and was sent to Piazza, his agents, the owners of the Mets, and Mets general manager Mike Phillips. Phillips later announced that Piazza had signed a seven-year contract with the Mets and acknowledged the petition.
The record for the highest number of verified signatures on an official government petition was set in 2019 with a petition that appealed to the U.K. government to repeal Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union and remain a member state. It garnered more than six million signatures.
The international record for an online petition is currently held by a change.org petition, Justice for George Floyd, which received 19,699,013 signatures.
Helpful Tips on Signing Online Petitions
Different websites take varying approaches to online petitions, but you can protect yourself and make more of a difference by following a few easy tips:
- Read the website’s terms of service and privacy information before signing.
- Do not provide your social security number or other sensitive information.
- Decide whether you want your name/comment displayed or kept private.
- Before you submit your signature, double-check to make sure your information is accurate.
- If you want to do more, share the petition with friends, family, and other contacts.
- Contact the organization or person that created the petition to learn other ways to contribute.
Do Petitions Actually Make a Difference?
Some people have labeled online petitions as a form of “slacktivism,” the practice of supporting a cause only because it requires little effort or commitment. What petitions actually do, however, is offer another way for people to contribute. Online petitions can get supporters who would otherwise be unable or unwilling to voice their agreement, and that does matter. They can also offer a way for people to learn more about a cause or issue, which could then lead them to take further action in other ways. An online petition can create a big impact in a short amount of time.
Whether or not an online petition “works” will depend largely on how many people sign and how much attention it gets from the media and lawmakers alike. Petitions that demand significant legislative change are more likely to require considerable effort from organizers and supporters – beyond proposing or signing a petition. They are almost always a piece of a larger puzzle.
Even so, one thing remains true: the more signatures a petition has, the more likely it is to be noticed. That is a crucial step in fostering change. Bringing problems to light and offering solutions, like the petition to Goldenvoice and AEG to remove Travis Scott from their festival lineups, is a step in the right direction.
If you were at the Astroworld Festival or were injured at any type of concert or live event, you have rights. Arnold & Itkin’s concert injury lawyers are currently investigating the Astroworld tragedy and are representing numerous attendees and families, helping them seek answers and hold at-fault parties accountable. Contact us today for a free, private consultation.