The wildest things that went down at the greatest party that never happened (contains spoilers).
Fyre’s promo trailer was a total lie.
It starts with the promise of a remote private island. Arrival via a private plane. Netflix’s documentary revealed that Ja Rule and entrepreneur Billy McFarland, the festival’s organisers, had to find another location last minute, moving the festival to one corner of a larger island (which they photoshopped in subsequent promo to look like an isolated paradise, of course.)
The private plane? One influencer labelled the aircraft “like, worse than the worst economy class.” As for Bella Hadid, Kendall Jenner, Elsa Hosk and all the other supermodels hired for the video? They most definitely didn’t show either.
While the rest of the festival’s organisers eventually, albeit reluctantly came to the conclusion that they had well and truly fucked it, McFarland seemed to hold out hope until everyone actually arrived, when he then conveniently and mysteriously disappeared.
Later – when he was out on bail for fraud – he set up a scam offering non-existent VIP tickets for highly exclusive events. The kind of events you can’t get tickets for: The Met Ball, a Taylor Swift meet-and-greet (FYI, she never charges for meet-and-greets), the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show before it had even be cast.
Colleagues and former friends label him a “compulsive liar” and “sociopath”, and while he’s currently in prison, they all seem pretty convinced we’ll be hearing from him again one day.
Everyone’s mad at the models, who pretty much lied too.
So… when are Kendall Jenner and the coterie of influencers who made hundreds of thousands of dollars advertising going to use that money to reimburse the Bahamian construction and hospitality workers who got left with nothing after #FyreFestival? pic.twitter.com/HwDPM5oSoW
You might remember the plain orange Insta posts, with just Fyre tagged, that started appearing on the platform’s most followed accounts in the lead up to the festival. A post that Kendall Jenner got paid $250,000 for, btw.
Hailey Baldwin (now Bieber), Bella Hadid and co. advertised not only the event, but led people to believe they’d be there. OK, so they didn’t know it would be such a sham, but without their influence Fyre would not have been able to have promised what it did, and it probably wouldn’t have happened at all.
You’ve probably seen the memes. Faced with a $175,000 bill to get influencer-friendly Evian bottled water cleared through customs a few days before the festival, Fyre’s Billy McFarland called on event producer Andy King to “take one big thing for the team”… “And I said, ‘My gosh, I’ve been taking something for the team every day,'” Andy recalled. “He said, ‘If you will go down and suck Cunningham’s dick, who’s the head of Customs, and get him to clear all of the containers with water, you will save this festival.'”
Deep in the chaos of the already doomed festival, King got fully prepped to attempt to save it: “I got to his office, fully prepared to suck his dick,” he explained. “But he couldn’t have been nicer. He’s like, ‘Andy, listen, I will release all the water, I will let you serve it, but I want to be one of the first people to be paid this import fee for what you’re doing.'” Has Cunningham been paid by now? Probably not.
McFarland’s employees got all the way fucked over.
While Ja Rule and McFarland were busy selling a pipe dream, their employees worked tirelessly to pull the logistics together. But no matter how hard they tried to think about toilets, rather than just models, McFarland proved entirely incapable of recognising that you can’t just host 6,000 people on an island with no plumbing…
Weeks before the festival absolutely nothing was sorted. Emergency hurricane shelter tents were called in for people who’d paid for luxury villas, the budget for food was cut from 6 million to 1 million, and locals ended up working through the nights to assemble camps.
McFarland’s Fyre Media company then crumbled shortly after the festival, leaving the whole team jobless and tarnished by his name.
More to the point, the hundreds of labourers who’d worked around the clock at the festival were just. Not. Paid. Now owed around $250,000 collectively (note: the same amount of money Kendall Jenner was paid for one Instagram post), interviews with the island staff highlighted how much they gave and lost to the scam.
An emotional appeal by boss-lady Maryann Rolle, who catered 1000 meals per day for the workers, now has a go fund me page you can donate to.