$100 Million Lawsuit Filed Against Fyre Fest Co-Founders Ja Rule and Billy McFarland
A prominent entertainment attorney has filed a $100 million lawsuit against Fyre Festival co-founders Ja Rule and Billy McFarland, alleging fraudulent behavior that cost attendees “thousands of dollars on travel, lodging, and time off work.”
Mark Geragos, whose clients have included Michael Jackson, Winona Ryder, and Chris Brown, is representing Daniel Jung, who paid $2,000 to attend the festival.
The Wrap reports that the suit describes the post-apocalyptic hell festival goers discovered upon arriving on the island Thursday in detail, including mentions of the “FEMA relief tents” and the lack of security. Also included in the suit is the now-viral photo of the cheese sandwich given to at least one attendee instead of the catered food promised by organizers.
Seeking “in excess of $100,000,000.00,” the suit alleges that McFarland and Ja Rule knew in advance that the festival would be a disaster but did nothing to warn or protect ticket holders. Celebrities and Fyre staff members, however, were reportedly warned not to attend.
The suit was announced hours after Ja Rule tweeted that “all guests are safe” and claimed the refund process has begun. On Friday, the rapper apologized and accepted responsibility for the festival, while emphasizing that what occurred was “NOT [HIS] FAULT.”
Festival organizers also issued a brief statement on Sunday.
In a series of interviews Friday night, co-founder Billy McFarland expressed remorse but blamed much of what went wrong on a surprise storm that struck the island Thursday morning. Despite everything, however, he’s still planning on holding another Fyre Festival next year.
“We were a little naïve in thinking for the first time we could do this ourselves,” he told Rolling Stone. “Next year, we will definitely start earlier.”
UPDATE 10:58 am: Billboard has more details from the suit. From Billboard:
“Attendees’ efforts to escape the unfolding disaster were hamstrung by their reliance upon Defendants for transportation, as well as by the fact that Defendants promoted the festival as a ‘cashless’ event—Defendants instructed attendees to upload funds to a wristband for use at the festival rather than bringing any cash,” reads the suit. “As such, Attendees were unable to purchase basic transportation on local taxis or busses, which accept only cash. As a result of Defendants’ roadblocks to escape, at least one attendee suffered a medical emergency and lost consciousness after being locked inside a nearby building with other concert-goers waiting to be airlifted from the island.”
In a statement released on Sunday by Geragos, the lawyer claimed that Fyre organizers “need to step up and make this right but unfortunately, the opposite has occurred.” Though Rule has been adamant that he and McFarland intended to provide an upscale experience for ticket buyers who spent anywhere from $4,000 to $100,000 for tickets, Geragos took shots at them, claiming Fyre was “nothing more than a get-rich-quick scam from the very beginning,” intended to “fleece attendees for hundreds of millions of dollars by inducing them to fly to a remote island without food, shelter or water—and without regard to what might happen to them after that.”
Most distressingly, the suit alleges that Rule and McFarland began “personally reaching out to performers and celebrities in advance of the festival and warned them not to attend—acknowledging the fact that the festival was outrageously underequipped and potentially dangerous for anyone in attendance.”