Fyre Festival goes down in flames after being hit with $100m lawsuit

Organiser Ja Rule and business partner sued after 'luxury' Bahamas getaway descends into chaos

Fyre Festival
(Image credit: William Needham Finley IV/Twitter)

Organisers of the calamitous Fyre Festival due to take place last weekend have been hit by a $100m (£77m) lawsuit after what was billed as a luxury Bahamas getaway collapsed into a "Lord of the Flies"-style fiasco.

Festivalgoer Daniel Jung is suing rapper Ja Rule, 41, and his business partner Billy McFarland, 25, for fraud, negligent representation and breach of contract, the BBC reports.

Fyre Festival, which was promoted by a slew of models and social media personalities and promised Blink-182, yachts and celebrity-chef catering, hit the headlines after complaints about the conditions. Ticketholders claimed the gourmet meals were actually bread and cheese, while the "luxury" accommodation was flimsy tents. They also say there was no lighting and water was scarce.

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up
See more
See more
See more

Organisers cancelled the event on Friday, after many people had already arrived at the islands.

Ja Rule tweeted he was "heartbroken" and the event was "NOT A SCAM".

He added: "I truly apologize as this is NOT MY FAULT…but I'm taking responsibility."

According to Variety, entry cost between $1,000 (£775) and $125,000 (£97,000).

The lawsuit condemns Fyre as "nothing more than a get-rich-quick scam".

It adds: "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."

Jung, who says he spent $2,000 (£1,550) on his ticket and airfare, has signed up celebrity trial lawyer Mark Geragos, whose previous clients include Michael Jackson and Winona Ryder, to fight his case, says Variety. He is seeking $5m (£3.87m) in damages, but the suit anticipates "more than 150" plaintiffs for whom it wants at least $100m.

According to TMZ, "sources connected to festival organizers" say the images of the event did not reveal the truth and that the food shown was actually for festival staff.

Fyre organisers have also apologised and offered refunds to all the attendees.

But the event has also raised questions over the role of social media "influencers" after a "beyond parody" presentation for investors of the festival, leaked to Vanity Fair, revealed "Fyre Starter" personalities, which included names such as models Bella Hadid, Kendall Jenner and Emily Ratajkowski, were offered free flights and tickets in return for promoting the event.

See more

However, "almost all" the 400 Fyre Starters shared promotional information without disclosing their commercial relationship, in violation of Federal Trade Commission requirements, the magazine says, and when the bad news began leaking in, many deleted their posts.

Continue reading for free

We hope you're enjoying The Week's refreshingly open-minded journalism.

Subscribed to The Week? Register your account with the same email as your subscription.