When all the information surrounding the infamous Fyre Festival were first revealed; specifically, when the Netflix and Hulu documentaries provided detailed insight into the truth behind the disaster – the internet blew up, and for good reason. As more and more details emerged, the true absurdity of the situation became clear, and controversy surrounding all the individuals involved spiralled.
While Billy McFarland is currently spending 6 years behind bars for fraud, the debate as to who else should be held responsible continues; first brought to light by issued subpoenas toward models and influencers involved – and now, many individuals – artists, agencies, models – are being hit with lawsuits.
The question as to whether these individuals should be held responsible, and if so, how, is a complex issue – were artists and models involved direct contributors to the debacle? The subpoenas issue earlier this year toward models and celebrities such as Kendall Jenner and Bella Hadid raised the ethical issue of their part when it came to Fyre Festival. With a massive following, these influencers were hired to promote and advertise the festival using their platform.
However, the subpoenas noted the lack of clarity when it came to this advertising; as it was never stated that they were being paid to promote the festival, and in some circumstances failed to let fans know they were pulling out of the festival after all – artists quickly dropped out as they realised something wasn’t quite right.
On August 28th, news of a Fyre Festival trustee emerged; Kendall Jenner, Emily Ratajkowski and Blink-182 (who were originally expected to play the lineup, but dropped out when they realised rising issues), have been hit with lawsuits by the trustee. Within these lawsuits, the trustee is demanding that all funds those involved received be paid back in full – whether it profit earned from promoting the festival, or the original funds paid for playing at the festival.
Not only are the models and artists facing these lawsuits, but multiple talent agencies representing individuals involved are too being embroiled in the legal battle. ICM Partners, United Talent Agency, Nue Agency and Creative Artists Agency have all been named in lawsuits, and astoundingly; not only are the creatives, influencers and agencies involved being sued, but the ticketing firm, yacht company and even the caterers are involved. All funds paid add up to millions of dollars, an outstanding amount of money. The basis stands that because the original intent was to scam investors, remuneration paid to those originally involved are not liable and should be considered void.