By Ryan Velez
Whether it’s been through traditional news or over social media, you’ve likely heard the spectacular failure that was the Fyre Festival, where attendees paid from $4000 to $250,000 to supposedly have an experience with gourmet food, luxury accommodations, excursions, and more. Needless to say, there was nothing of the sort, and whether you were shocked or amused at the turn events, Celebrity Net Worth reports that someone may have to pay for the deception. A $100 million fraud lawsuit has been leveled at co-founders Billy McFarland and rapper Ja Rule.
While huge amounts of money went into promoting the festival, including social media endorsements from influencers like Bella Hadid, Kelsea Ballerini, Hailee Steinfeld and Emily Ratajkowski, the same didn’t apply for the actual festival. When festival goers went to the Bahamas for the music festival, they discovered that their accommodations were literally refugee tents from FEMA, their food, bagged cheese sandwiches. Further details suggest that the island may not have had running water and been infested by wild dogs.
The formal legal complaint says that the event was a simple “get-rich-quick scam,” and lays the issues out in detail:
“Defendants intended to fleece attendees for hundreds of millions of dollars by inducing them to fly to a remote island without food, shelter or water — and without regard to what might happen to them after that… The festival’s lack of adequate food, water, shelter, and medical care created a dangerous and panicked situation among attendees — suddenly finding themselves stranded on a remote island without basic provisions — that was closer to The Hunger Games or Lord of the Flies than Coachella… Festival-goers survived on bare rations, little more than bread and a slice of cheese, and tried to escape the elements in the only shelter provided by Defendants: small clusters of ‘FEMA tents,’ exposed on a sand bar, that was soaked and battered by wind and rain.”
Perhaps the most disturbing piece of the lawsuit regards how Ja Rule and McFarland may have actually disclosed that they were well aware of the situation in their actions towards some of the people promised to attend. The lawsuit reads that:
“More troublingly, Mr. McFarland and Mr. Atkins [Rule’s real name is Jeffrey Atkins] began personally reaching out to performers and celebrities in advance of the festival and warned them not to attend — acknowledging the fact that the festival was outrageously under-equipped and potentially dangerous for anyone in attendance.” Should this be the truth, it could be some prime ammunition in the fraud case.