New Lawsuit: Fyre Festival Reps Sent Cease and Desist Letters to Critics, Saying Tweets Could “Incite Violence”
The parade of Fyre Festival legal complaints continues with a new class action lawsuit (the sixth major suit brought against Fyre), which was filed by two festival attendees, Kenneth and Emily Reel, in a Florida court on Friday. The Reels are suing not only Fyre Media co-founders Billy McFarland and Ja Rule but also the festival’s promotions and marketing companies, 42West and Matte Projects, which the Reels’ suit claims “did nothing to ensure that what they were marketing….was or even could be true.”
The suit also claims that the Reels’ attempts to obtain a refund before the festival’s supposed start date were denied, leaving the two with “no choice but to attempt to attend.” In addition, the suit details a refund “application” emailed to ticket holders after the non-festival, which involved a “lengthy” questionnaire and did not allow users to track the progress of their request after submitting.
The Reels also allege that Fyre Media representatives have been “threaten[ing]” social media users who were critical of the festival with cease-and-desist letters that claimed their posts could “incite violence, rioting, or civil unrest.”
You can read the full lawsuit here.
UPDATE 5/9: Matte Projects sent Pitchfork a statement denying any responsibility for the fiasco. Read the full statement below:
MATTE denies the allegations being made against it and intends to defend itself vigorously against these claims. We believe that MATTE has been sued erroneously, based on an incorrect understanding of the facts and circumstances concerning our connection to Fyre Media and the music festival. The claims relating to the festival concern events in which MATTE had little involvement and for which MATTE should not be held liable.
We were surprised to learn of the severe issues reported about the festival in the press and now alleged in the courts. Fyre Media engaged MATTE to assist in the creation of certain website, marketing, and photo and video content materials in November 2016. In carrying out our engagement, MATTE operated based on information which Fyre provided to us and upon which we relied in carrying out our assignments.
We ceased working with Fyre in early March 2017, after Fyre failed to pay for the majority of the work we performed to that point. Later in the month, we shut down the website on which we worked for them. Fyre subsequently launched another website that included – without our authorization — certain materials that we had worked on.
While we too are shocked, and sympathize with the festival goers, who spent their hard-earned money, only to be disappointed, MATTE had nothing to do with the execution of the festival.