The Fyre Festival Guy Is An Even Bigger Douche Than We Thought

Ah, the Fyre Festival. Literally the funniest thing to happen to a large group of social media influencers since, well, the advent of social media. We all know the basic story: a group of wealthy influencers were promised a lavish festival experience on a “luxury” island only to arrive to find they had, in fact, been played. Two days, 12 lawsuits, and 150 hilarious Instagrams later, the man behind the Fyre Festival is facing charges of wire fraud, and I’m not talking about Ja Rule.

Nope, I’m talking about Billy McFarland, the IRL Joanne The Scammer who conned Ja and 85 other investors into thinking he could put on a music festival, when in fact he had approximately 0% of the skills or money needed to do so.

Side bar: Poor Ja Rule. All he wanted to do was re-start his career by putting his name on a luxury music festival without doing any research or ever checking in to see that said festival actually existed before selling tickets and sending hundreds of people to a glorified sandbar in the middle of the Bahamas. Is that really so much to ask?

McFarland, whose previous claim to fame was starting a “social black card” called Magnises where people paid $250 annually for “VIP experiences,” was arrested Friday by federal authorities and charged with wire fraud.

Side bar #2: “Magnises” also fell apart, with members complaining that they were “duped” and that many of the “VIP experiences” were cancelled last minute with very slow refund times. So like…did nobody Google this guy before going into business with him? Seems like this could have been easily avoided.

Also, Magnises looks like Penises and is a very dumb name for a company. Moving on…

McFarland was released Saturday on $300,000 bail, which was either paid for with the tears of a thousand Instagram models, or by his parents, who are wealthy New Jersey real estate developers because of-fucking-course they are.

A central part of McFarland’s bail hearing was to figure out exactly how much money the King Fuckboy has. On the one hand, he is currently making payments on a $110,000 Maserati, rents a $21k/month apartment in Manhattan (WHERE THO??), and had $5k in cash on him when he was arrested.

On the other hand, he has to be represented by a public defender because his previous lawyers quit once he stopped being able to pay them.

That’s right, this rich real estate bro who literally made a living scamming rich people by promising luxury experiences is now using a public defender that would normally be reserved for actual poor people who can’t afford lawyers. If only The O.C. were real. Sandy Cohen would never stand for this.

The crux of the case against McFarland (because you sadly can’t charge someone with “obvious fuckery”) is that he lied and defrauded investors in Fyre Media by overstating the company’s income. Prior to the Fyre Festival, Fyre Media’s entire company was a single website that “allowed people to book celebrities for parties and events.” So you know how every once in a while your local club would have Snooki come DJ or some shit? That’s Fyre Media.

Again, did no one look into this man before giving him millions of dollars? Do rich people not know about Google? I’m so confused.

In a criminal complaint unsealed on Friday, the government alleges that McFarland operated a scheme to “defraud investors by drastically overstating the wealth of Fyre Media.” Which, once more for the people in the back, was literally just a website.

The complain also alleges that in one instance, McFarland altered an account statement to say that he owned $2.5 million in a particular company’s stocks, when in fact he only owned around $1,500. Homie isn’t even smooth. All he had to do was lie a little less and say it was $1.5 million and then be like “Omg! Typo! Autocorrect is so crazy…” But I think it’s pretty clear at this point that Billy isn’t really the “thinking ahead” type.

Billy is out on bail now, chilling in NJ with his parents until his preliminary hearing, which was scheduled for July 31st of this year. If convicted, he could face up to 20 years in prison, but he’s also a rich white guy in America so he could end up coming out of this with a cake and negative prison time. We’ll just have to wait and see.

So yeah, you’re gonna want to pre-order a shitload of popcorn because this trial is going to be about as lit as Fyre Festival was supposed to be. 

Alise Morales
Alise Morales
Alise Morales is a comedy writer and performer. She is the writer of the Betches Sup Newsletter and co-host of the Betches Sup Podcast.