Entrepreneur Billy McFarland and rapper Ja Rule have been targeted with severallawsuits since the Fyre Festival, the weekend-long luxury music event they had planned in the Bahamas, fell into chaos before it could begin.
According to a new report in The New York Times, the co-founders of Fyre Media, who put on the event, are now facing a criminal investigation by the US attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York and the FBI. Investigators are reportedly looking into allegations of possible mail, wire, and securities fraud.
“I cannot emphasise enough how sorry I am that we fell short of our goal,” McFarland said in a statement to the Times. “I’m committed to, and working actively to, find a way to make this right, not just for investors but for those who planned to attend.”
Pending lawsuits include one from the festival’s investors, who allege they’re missing millions, as well as several from attendees who claim breach of contract, breach of covenant of good faith, and negligent misrepresentation on the part of the organisers and the PR firms who represented them.
One suit, filed by celebrity trial lawyer Mark Geragos, is seeking $US100 million in damages, alleging 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.”
According to a leaked tape that was reported on by Vice, McFarland told employees of Fyre Media on May 5 that they would no longer be paid for their work, but that they could stay at the company and work without pay if they wished. Employees have said that they were paid via wire transfer or in cash.
A host of supermodels had promoted the festival on social media, including Kendall Jenner, Hailey Baldwin, Emily Ratajkowski, and Bella Hadid. Blink-182, Major Lazer, Migos, Tyga, and Disclosure were among the artists scheduled to perform, according to the festival’s promotions. According to the Times’ most recent report, Blink-182’s equipment is still stuck in “customs limbo.” Fyre Media reportedly owes more than $US330,000 in customs fees.
Tickets started at $US1,200, but reports have said some attendees paid close to or over $US100,000 for the weekend.