Fyre Festival Hit With $100M Lawsuit After Horror-Show Weekend
The organizers behind Fyre Festival -- last week's viral failure and PR disaster in the Bahamas -- might eventually have to pay up for charging people thousands for tickets to a luxury music festival and delivering a complete shitshow. High-powered celebrity attorney Mark Geragos filed a $100 million class-action lawsuit against festival organizers Ja Rule and Billy McFarland on Sunday, according to a report by Billboard.
Geragos, who's previously represented the likes of Kesha, Chris Brown, and Michael Jackson, wrote in the lawsuit that "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."
The nails in Fyre Festival's coffin undoubtedly came from evidence shared to social media Thursday night exposing the getaway as a pricey farce. While the festival promised luxe housing, catering, and the chance to rub shoulders with celebrity guests, photos and videos show FEMA disaster-relief tents that weren't even assembled, mediocre "catering" that consisted of untoasted bread and slices of cheese, and lockers lacking locks, among other examples shared to "FyreFestivalFraud" accounts and the personal accounts of people who'd paid for tickets.
And it got worse. According to a report by Motherboard, Fyre Festival staff themselves were warned not to even attend the festival ahead of time. Per the report, many of them flew to Florida ahead of the festival only to be told to turn back around on their own dime.
Geragos represents festival attendee Daniel Jung in the lawsuit. After spending $2,000 on his festival ticket and airfare, Jung claims, he and other "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 were soaked and battered by wind and rain."
The ensuing social media uproar (with a healthy dose of schadenfreude) soared well into the weekend with reports of delayed flights and a reports that McFarland -- a 25-year-old tech entrepreneur -- "has a history of over-promising 'elite' access." The lawsuit claims that festivalgoers -- rather than enjoy chicly appointed beachside suites, and the music of Blink-182, Migos, and Major Lazer -- spent their remaining weekends soaked and trapped in a Bahamas airport waiting for delayed flights. It didn't help matters that the festival was advertised as "cashless," and guests were encouraged to upload money to their festival wristband -- ultimately leaving some unable to pay for local, cash-operated transportation services.
The chaos left McFarland fellow organizers battling a backlash and PR nightmare on social media. "My partners and I wanted this to be an amazing event. It was NOT A SCAM," the rapper tweeted on Friday. "I truly apologize as this was NOT MY FAULT... but I'm taking responsibility."
As Variety pointed out, the Bahamas might also sue them, with TMZ reporting that the Bahamas "stands to lose out on millions with the festival being called off."
Fyre Festival's site now boasts the organizers' 671-word explanation of what went wrong, contritely thanking the Bahamas and its Ministry of Tourism, while promising to fully refund all festival admissions and dole out VIP passes for next year's festival to anyone who purchased tickets this year.
"We decided to literally attempt to build a city," it explains, describing the festival's efforts to tackle waste management, transportation, and medical needs. "We thought we were ready, but then everyone arrived."
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