Maybe 2019 won’t be a terrible year after all, because this Fyre Festival content just keeps on coming. In the battle of the two dueling Fyre documentaries, one of the most interesting aspects was the role of Fuck Jerry, and who was truly responsible for the fiasco. In the Hulu documentary, one of the main interview subjects was Oren Aks, who worked for Jerry Media to help market the festival. Oren no longer works there, and the movie ended with him giving Jerry Media the middle finger, in case you were wondering where that professional relationship ended up.
Well, it doesn’t look like Oren and Fuck Jerry will be patching things up any time soon, because Oren is stirring up some serious sh*t on social media. He apparently still has the password to the official Fyre Festival Instagram account, which seems like a major oversight, and he relaunched the Fyre Festival IG account over the weekend. That’s right, Fyre is back in business.
In the bio for the account, which is still verified, it says that Oren is running the account, and that it’s not affiliated with Hulu, Netflix, or Fyre Media. I’m no lawyer, but I feel like as far as legal protections go, this is about as ironclad as posting one of those “I do not consent to Facebook sharing my data to third parties” statuses. I mean, he’s still using their name, handle, and logo, but whatever. And if you had any doubt about whether Oren was truly the one behind this, he’s posted about it on his own Instagram Story, and he’s also the only account that Fyre Festival follows.
So now that Oren has brought back the Fyre Instagram, what does he intend to do with it? His ultimate motives are still unclear, but I have a feeling that it’s not something Billy McFarland would approve of (unless it’s a scam). The biggest clue we’ve gotten so far is an IG Story of the comment keyword filters on the account being deleted. If you forgot about these, this was their way of hiding criticism in the weeks leading up to the festival, when it should have been clear to attendees that it was going to be a sh*t show. If comments contained words such as “fake,” “scam,” or “festival,” they were immediately hidden. So, when concerned ticket holders tried to ask questions on the Fyre Festival Instagram about things like how their plane tickets were getting to them or just generally what the deal was, those comments would automatically get deleted and they would get a swift block. Same thing would happen to anyone who tried to warn festivalgoers that the so-called “one-in-a-lifetime experience” may not have been what it seemed. I mean, you know things are bad when a literal music festival is afraid of the word “festival” being used against them.
Now it looks like you’ll be able to comment whatever you want on any of the Fyre Festival posts, so if you’ll excuse me, I have to cancel all my plans for the rest of the week. For now it just looks like people making Fyre Festival jokes, so I hope something big breaks soon.
No matter what ends up happening with this, I’m happy to see that Oren, like me, is a messy bitch who lives for drama. I’m also glad that the Fyre brand isn’t truly dead, because nothing else has brought me more joy in the last month. If I were to Marie Kondo my entire life, I’d be left with approximately two shirts and five hundred Fyre documentaries. With this news and rumors of Evian enthusiast Andy King getting his own show, there’s lots more to look forward to, so stay tuned.
Images: @fyrefestival / Instagram (3)
Fyre Festival truly is the gift that just keeps on giving. If you had told me that a failed 2017 music festival would be more relevant than ever almost two years later, I would have believed that about as much as I believed that Fyre Media had a legitimate business model. But speaking of, somebody leaked the Fyre Festival pitch deck on LinkedIn, and it’s pretty much just what you would expect from Billy McFarland. There’s a bunch of “fire” puns, and a lot of overblown statistics. In short, it is glorious.
On Thursday, Alvin Hussey uploaded Fyre Media’s pitch deck to LinkedIn, and it reads like a PDF made by a graphic design intern with copy direction coming from a coked-out CEO. So, basically probably exactly what did happen.
The first part of the deck describes Fyre Media and what it does. It opens with such gems as, “Understanding that today’s cohort interacts, engages and follows a new generation of role models who are defining today’s culture, the FYRE platform changes the way how they interact with their fans, followers and brands.” Which is a very longwinded and convoluted way of saying “kids these days do stuff different than the way we did back in our day.”
Then it gets into explaining why the live music industry is “broken”. According to FYRE, “Accessing talent is a mystifying, inefficient and inconsistent process.” Except, no it’s not. If you go on any artist’s Instagram or Facebook, you will find an email for their booking agent. Hell, even everyday hot girls have the contact info of their “booking agents” in their Instagram bios—if anything, accessing talent is even easier today, in the age of social media. It also says, “since launching in May 2016, thousands of offers representing tens of millions of performances and appearances have been made and accepted with Fyre.” We now know this to be a blatant lie.
Then we get to the revenue model, where it says, “Fyre assesses a 10% fee to buyers and does not take a commission from talent on bookings.” Okay, sounds good. It also says, “We also redirect 25% of the Fyre Fee (2.5% of the booking) to talent by way of benefits.” Excuse me if this is dumb, because I do not work in sales, but what does this mean?? What are these so-called benefits? My favorite part, though, is the disclaimer at the bottom, which states, “We take no direct liability for any bookings made with FYRE. Each agreement is between talent and the buyer.” LOLLLL well this explains why literally no artists were confirmed to book Fyre Festival—FYRE didn’t even guarantee their own bookings.
Then we get to the pièce de résistance: Fyre Festival. Over a collage of photos of models and beaches are lain the words, “Come, seek, for searching is the foundation of fortune.” Little did they know that the Fyre Festival attendees would literally be searching—for water, food, and shelter—but I doubt they’re any more fortunate for it! It then says, “What if we reimagined what it means to attend a music festival?” which is just about the understatement of the century. You did deliver on that promise, Billy.
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And then we get into the really crazy part. “Fyre has a unique goal and inspiration: the exploration of the uncharted inspired by and referencing the five elements of the earth.” I’m sorry, what?? You think you’re the first music festival ever to have a theme? That’s it?! THAT’S what would make Fyre Festival this never-before-seen, once-in-a-lifetime experience?? Wow. Just wow.
While I do have the time and volition to go through this entire sh*tty Powerpoint presentation, I don’t think you all want to be here reading for the next 1,000 words. I’ll leave you with one gem: towards the end of the presentation about the festival, after spending like, 3 pages on all the influencers who promoted the festival, is a page containing a flow chart on how FYRE aims to secure sponsors for the festival. Here’s what the page reads:
What kind of Jean-Ralphio Saperstein bullsh*t is this?? This so-called “360 methodology” boils down to: “think of ideas, execute said ideas” with no information as to how said ideas will be executed. Honestly, it’s a metaphor for Fyre Festival as a whole. And with that beautiful symmetry, I leave you to explore this dumpster fyre of a pitch deck on your own.
Images: Alvin Hussey / LinkedIn
Since last year, we knew that both Hulu and Netflix were working on documentaries about one of our favorite scams of all time, the Fyre Festival. Obviously, I was very excited to get an in-depth look at this complete and utter sh*tshow, but I had to wonder, are these movies really both necessary? Netflix announced that theirs would drop on January 18th, so I started to get excited. Then, last week, Hulu proved that it really is a messy b*tch who lives for drama, and dropped theirs three days before Netflix as a surprise. Hulu gets an automatic 10 bonus points just for that level of pettiness.
So because I’m a hardworking journalist (and a fellow messy b*tch who lives for drama), I watched both documentaries, and I’m going to break down some of the differences. First of all, both movies are actually really good. The fundamental story is fascinating, and both Netflix and Hulu did a great job of crafting a narrative that feels informative and fun at the same time. Both have interviews with some key players, including a few of the same people, who are obviously extra hungry for
exposure justice. Oh, and both make Ja Rule look like a total dick. Like, how is his lawyer allowing him to tweet?
Sooo did they have all this food or did they serve cheese sandwiches??? Asking for a friend… https://t.co/kSIqgbtvwS
— Ja Rule (@Ruleyork) January 20, 2019
The thing I liked most about the Hulu documentary, Fyre Fraud, is the amount of backstory it gives us on Billy McFarland. From his credit card company Magnises, all the way back to hacking the computers in elementary school, we get a clear picture of how Billy has always had a compulsion to scam. Part of the reason we get so much of this information is because Fyre Fraud has interviews with Billy. He doesn’t provide that much useful info, other than a lot of red flags to look out for if you think you’re on a date with a sociopath. Because of pending legal action, there are some things he won’t comment on, but he also tells some wild lies, like that they had 250 luxury villas rented, but they lost the box with all the keys. I can’t make this sh*t up. We also get interviews with Billy’s hot Russian girlfriend, who I have some serious questions for.
Fyre, the Netflix movie, has some of the backstory woven in, but it focuses more on what was happening on the ground in the Bahamas. While Billy sat this one out, lots of key members of the Fyre team are interviewed, and you really get a sense of how many people tried to stop this disaster from happening. Basically, Billy didn’t want to hear any negativity, so people either left or got back to work. Heads up: there is one story about a request Billy made of one of his employees that will fully leave your jaw on the floor. Fyre also talks a bit more about the pain Billy & Co. caused for the local residents of the Bahamas, which is truly the most f*cked up part of this story. Some of these people gave everything they had to make this thing a success, but they were just being lied to the entire time.
Overall, Fyre (Netflix) gave me more information to actually understand what happened at Fyre Festival. I’ve always wondered why the whole thing wasn’t just canceled the week before, and I get it now. Both movies do an excellent job of showing how brilliant the influencer-based marketing campaign was, and how it was destined to be a disaster from almost the first minute of planning. If you’re truly interested in this kind of stuff, you really should watch both movies, because they complement each other quite well. If you’re like, busy or something, watch the Netflix one, because it has the Fyre Festival content you’ve been craving the most.
Or if documentaries aren’t really your thing, but you still want the deets on Billy McFarland, listen to the Fyre Festival episode of Not Another True Crime Podcast:
Images: Netflix; @ruleyork / Twitter; Giphy
We all thought the Fyre Festival news couldn’t possibly get any worse, but just like that time a broken vending machine gave you three sodas instead of one, Fyre Festival truly is the
PR disaster gift that keeps on giving. How is that possible, you may ask? (Don’t worry, I asked myself that too—it seems impossible for anyone involved with Fyre Festival to shit the bed even more so than they currently have.) But thankfully for my sense of schadenfreude, Fyre Festival keeps delivering. In today’s news, Fyre Festival employees won’t be getting paid for their work. I think I speak for all of us when I say: hold up, there actually were Fyre Festival employees? Where the hell were they at when people were fighting each other for sleeping arrangements on an island full of stray dogs? Or like, where were they when the festival was being organized in general? And what is this aforementioned “work” for which they seek payment? I saw the tweets. I saw the photos. It was pretty easy to conclude that zero “work” was put into this festival at any point.
Probable frat star and known scammer, Billy McFarland, broke the news via a conference call, because I guess Fyre Media is so broke and illegitimate they can’t even afford a WeWork space. That’s pretty rough. In the phone call obtained by VICE, McFarland said, “We’re not firing anyone; we’re just letting you know that there will be no payroll in the short term.” So like… you’re not firing anyone, you’re just demoting them all to unpaid intern status? Actually, I’m pretty sure being an unpaid intern would be more lucrative at this point, considering internships at least offer college credit and zero chance of being investigated by the FBI.
Employees were upset, obviously, because if McFarland refuses to fire them it means they can’t seek unemployment benefits. Meaning that whether they quit or choose to continue working, they’ll be poor either way. Not to mention, good luck getting a job with Fyre Festival on your resume. It’s what is known in professional circles as being “totally fucked.”
But never fear, because McFarland is not giving up. He told the employees, “I understand that this is not an ideal situation for everybody, and this will likely cause a lot of you to resign, which we totally get and understand. That said, if you want to stick with us, we’d love to have you and we’d love to work together and hunker down and get back to a place where everything resumes to business as usual.” I imagine the immediate response of everyone on the call went a little something like this:
I mean, I think it’s almost cute how Billy still thinks Fyre Festival is going to happen. Dude, give it up. No amount of rebranding or Ja Rule’s participation can save you from this train wreck. Speaking of Ja, our boy was apparently on this call, but reportedly took on a “listener” role. His contribution came in the form of the following quote: “I’m on the phone, but I can barely hear you all because of this fucking hum.” If you weren’t already convinced that Ja Rule was just a patsy who had no part in the (lack of) planning of this fiasco, I think that quote says it all. This is a guy who can’t even figure out how to hang up and dial back into a meeting, or like, go somewhere quiet. There’s no way he could have purposefully sold tickets to an event and knowingly flown a bunch of millennials out to an abandoned island.
Now more than ever, Ja Rule needs our help. Start streaming his music on Spotify, because Billy McFarland is apparently determined to make Fyre Media happen, no matter how many friends he loses or people he leaves dead and bloodied along the way. If we don’t all act now, we could lose one of our favorite washed-up early 2000s rappers. 50 Cent is broke and has been for a while now, Bow Wow is lying about taking commercial flights—at this point if Ja goes bankrupt we’ll only have Nelly. That’s not a world I want to live in.
As we all know by now, Ja Rule is in a bit of legal trouble due to the fact that his “luxury music festival” turned out to be turned out to be more of a Lord of The Flies type situation wherein rich millennials were trapped on an island for days with no food or water. And as funny as it was to watch these influencers struggle to come to terms with the fact that they just paid $12k to live in a FEMA tent, we all knew that soon enough these privileged millennials would come home and do exactly what rich white people do best: sue the shit out of everyone involved.
Yesterday Ja Rule and Billy McFarland, the Fyre Festival “organizers” (can you be called an organizer if you failed to organize anything?) were slapped with a $100 million dollar lawsuit alleging the festival “fell dramatically short of even the most modest expectations.”
Way harsh, Tai! But also like, 100% fair and accurate.
So like, let’s say this lawsuit is successful—and it probably will be given the fact that the festival was advertised as a luxury weekend away with models and turned out to be a 48 hour nightmare with feral dogs—wtf is Ja Rule gonna do? Does he even have a million dollars at this point, let alone a HUNDRED million? I mean, how much did he get for that Hamilton Mixtape track? Will the Fyre Festival really be the end of Murder Inc?
Not necessarily! You, yes you, can help to save Ja Rule from bankruptcy, and by proxy allow Ashanti to work another day. And all it’ll take is $9.99 for a Spotify Premium subscription. Then all you have to do is listen to Ja Rule, and only Ja Rule, and he’ll collect the royalties.
Let’s break down just how much Ja Rule you’d have to listen to in order to pay off his legal fees. So, according to Spotify, artists make between $.006 and $.0084 every time a person streams one of their songs. Let’s assume that Ja is making the upper half of that, because he’s like, fairly famous. In order to earn him $100 million, you would have to:
1. Listen to “Mezmerize” 11,904,761,904 times.
For those of you not used to such large numbers, that’s eleven billion, nine hundred four million, seven hundred sixty one thousand, nine hundred and four times.
But if listening to the same song over one billion times isn’t your style, you could always…
2. Listen to his highest selling album, Pain Is Love, 744,047,619 times.
OR if you want to make sure you get all the good stuff (aka the stuff with Ashanti) you could always mix it up and…
3. Listen to all 17 of his singles 700,280,112 times.
OR, if you’ve got a low attention span and really love Ja Rule you could always:
4. Listen to Ja Rule’s entire discography 104,160,000 times.
So get listening guys! This is going to take 3 billion minutes to complete.
And just in case you’re not convinced that Ja Rule is just a patsy who lent his name and maybe a check to this festival and had no involvement in the actual planning of it because he was just roped into this mess—and is therefore extremely worthy of saving—look no further than the following gif for evidence:
SAVE JA. It’s on all of us. That is all.
If you have an Instagram, you’ve probably heard of the Fyre Festival, a luxury music festival organized by Ja Rule that promised “two transformative weekends” on a luxury island in the Bahamas that was “once owned by Pablo Escobar.” Tickets for the fest ranged anywhere from $4,000 to a $250k VIP package and attendees were promised private beaches, luxury accommodations, gourmet food, and live music from artists including Blink 182, Lil Yachty, and Migos.
Announced via a glam AF Insta video featuring Bella Hadid and Emily Ratajkowski and promoted by celebs like Kendall Jenner, the whole thing was supposed to be Coachella but for rich people. Because Coachella wasn’t all that already.
Only problem is, there was no festival. Maybe there was, at one time, plans to have a festival, but at some point between “announcing a luxury festival on Instagram and starting to take people’s money” and “actually throwing said festival” somebody dropped the ball. Hard. Like, the ball dropped so hard that it exploded into a thousand pieces creating a domino effect of ball droppings and now there are no balls, anywhere, ever, for the rest of time.
Let me explain:
The first wave of Fyre Festival attendees began to arrive on Thursday, and rather than arriving onto their own private molly island as promised, they arrived in what appears to be a FEMA Camp, with accommodations that are more “Syrian Refugee” than “Pablo Escobar.”
For “luxury accommodations” Fyre Fest attendees, who may or may not have paid over $12,000 for their ticket, arrived to this:
This is how Fyre Fest handles luggage. Just drop it out of a shipping container. At night. With no lights. #fyrefestival pic.twitter.com/X5CdZRyJWo
— William N. Finley IV (@WNFIV) April 28, 2017
Expectation Vs. Reality #fyrefestival pic.twitter.com/RfOpbNEdH3
— BigKidProblems (@BigKidProblems) April 28, 2017
Stuck at #fyrefestival trying to leave for the last 8 hours. barley any food or water or security or electricity pic.twitter.com/jHPMnJw5gx
— Lamaan (@LamaanGallal) April 28, 2017
And, as far as gourmet food options go, the spread was a little more Duane Reade than Gordon Ramsey:
The dinner that @fyrefestival promised us was catered by Steven Starr is literally bread, cheese, and salad with dressing. #fyrefestival pic.twitter.com/I8d0UlSNbd
— Tr3vor (@trev4president) April 28, 2017
A view of the luxury food court with some luxury school bus transportation at Fyre Festival. #fyre #fyrefestival pic.twitter.com/XL3PtRw8q0
— William N. Finley IV (@WNFIV) April 28, 2017
Oh, and the five star lineup? Well, like the concierge’s desk, they didn’t end up coming together:
This sums up Fyre Festival. #fyre #fyrefestival #fyrefest pic.twitter.com/x4xcFBL8Yg
— William N. Finley IV (@WNFIV) April 28, 2017
So like…how tf did this happen? Was this all a ploy by Ja Rule now that his “Mezmerize” money finally ran out? Are rich white kids on Instagram just that stupid? (Yes.)
Honestly it’s unclear, but what is clear is that I am living for the play by play as those who fell for the festival fraud do everything they can to get off the island. Literally just read these subject lines:
@NearFutureEvent @mr_bones_rises These were the top 5 posts on the #fyrefestival subreddit a moment ago. pic.twitter.com/FrsEBfPqOq
— Rich Powell (@RichPowell_NRx) April 28, 2017
Hmm.. what is the deal with all these feral dogs? Honestly you almost feel bad for these people until you remember they spent $12k on a party they heard about on Kendall Jenner’s Instagram. Remember what your high school librarian always said? Check your fucking sources, kiddos.
Shit has gotten so bad at this point that the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism had to make a statement, basically saying the whole thing is Ja Rule’s fault:
“We are extremely disappointed in the way the events unfolded yesterday with the Fyre Festival. We offer a heartfelt apology to all who traveled to our country for this event. Tourism is our number one industry and it is our aim to deliver world-class experiences and events. Hundreds of visitors to Exuma were met with total disorganization and chaos. The organizers of Fyre recently asked the Ministry of Tourism for support for their private event. The Ministry of Tourism is not an official sponsor of Fyre Festival. Given the magnitude of this undertaking, the MOT lent its support as we do with all international events. We offered advice and assisted with communications with other government agencies. The event organizers assured us that all measures were taken to ensure a safe and successful event but clearly they did not have the capacity to execute an event of this scale. A team of Ministry of Tourism representatives is on the island to assist with the organization of a safe return of all Fyre Festival visitors. It is our hope that the Fyre Festival visitors would consider returning to the Islands Of The Bahamas in the future to truly experience all of our beauty.”
Damn. You know shit is fucked up when The Bahamian government has to get involved. Festivalgoers are now facing massive delays as they try to escape Ja Rule’s hell island, while the Fyre Festival official Twitter had this to say:
We’re currently working through the unexpected start to #FyreFestival. Thank u for bearing with us as we attempt to accommodate guest needs
— Fyre Festival (@fyrefestival) April 28, 2017
Unexpected start? You mean no start because there literally was not a festival of any kind. We’ve got influencers living in Lord of The Flies and Fyre Festival is out here acting like someone forgot to respond to a few emails.
Due to unforeseen and extenuating circumstances, Fyre Festival has been fully postponed (con’t)
— Fyre Festival (@fyrefestival) April 28, 2017
After assessing the situation this morning and looking at best options for our guests, we cannot move forward as we hoped we could (con’t)
— Fyre Festival (@fyrefestival) April 28, 2017
At this time, we are working tirelessly to get flights scheduled and get all travelers home safely
— Fyre Festival (@fyrefestival) April 28, 2017
Um yeah, if your festival ends with you “trying to get everyone home safely,” that’s a fucking problem. Also, “unforseen circumstances?” Really? Ya’ll didn’t forsee that if you failed to plan any festival of any kind that there would be an issue? The problem isn’t that the festival didn’t meet expectations. The problem is that there was no fucking festival in the first place and you sent a bunch of people to a Bahamian death camp with no food or water.
So I know what you’re thinking (apart from “holy fuck this is the most incredible story I’ve ever heard”), where’s Ja Rule? Surely he must be able to provide some insight into why the festival he’s been promoting for months was not, in fact, a festival of any kind.
Well, here’s the thing. Ja Rule is missing. I mean, not missing like call the police missing, but missing in that he hasn’t said shit about any of this. Radio silence. Anybody else feel like Ja Rule is halfway around the world with a fake passport, wig, and suitcase full of 18-year-old influencers’ hard earned brand money? How the fuck did this happen? Is Ja Rule a criminal mastermind?
Unclear. I think the only thing that is clear is what we’ve known all along: do not trust anything you see on Instagram.