And now, the six most horrifying, incredible details from the Fyre Fest lawsuits
Everyone’s favorite scorching trash receptacle of a luxury island ‘party’ for the ages—Fyre Festival—may be over.
But the lawsuits are just gearing up.
Since that fateful April day when Ja Rule’s Instagram dream life came crumbling down before our eyes, a slew of disappointed and utterly perplexed attendees have taken legal action against Ja Rule, his co-founder Billy McFarland, and the other event organizers, in hopes of receiving compensation for the experience that wasn’t.
Right now, there are six prominent lawsuits against Fyre Fest. And lucky for all of this, these lawsuits, uploaded to Scribd via various parties, offer up a trove of horrifying realities and paint a beautiful (read: sad, disgusting, and embarrassing) portrait of the Instagram era’s most ill-fated moment yet.
Here are some of the most astonishing pieces we uncovered from the filings:
1. The comparisons to Lord of the Flies.
Prominent Los Angeles defense attorney Mark Geragos filed the $100 million class action lawsuit that started it all, representing Daniel Jung, a man who reportedly paid $2,000 for his ticket and travel arrangements. Geragos filed with the intention of covering anyone who found themselves in the same situation as his client.
“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.”
That’s right: the suit’s depiction of Fyre Fest is so bleak, it cites two of the most well-known young adult books about dystopia.
“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…'”
This claim was backed by the now-infamous photo that circulated online in the wake of the disaster.
2. The descriptions of basically-shipwrecked attendees.
Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorney John Girardi filed a lawsuit on behalf of three plaintiffs—Chelsea Chinery, Shannon McAuliffe, and Desiree Flores—bashing the festival’s promotional materials and claiming people were encouraged to attend under false pretenses.
“Festival grounds were barren and disorganized. Luggage was haphazardly thrown from shipping crates onto the beach. The villas that were billed as upscale beach tents were tents that resembled those used by the Federal Emergency Management Agency in times of disaster.”
There’s that FEMA tent reference again. A bit melodramatic, sure, but it definitely conjures the beach from LOST in a lot of ways.
But wait, there’s more.
“Plaintiffs were stuck on the island, with no way off.”
It’s like the richest, most insufferable version of Gilligan’s Island ever.
“Festival staff was nowhere to be found.”
You’re on your own now, suckers.
3. The disastrous medical care that wasn’t.
National Event Services, Inc. (NES), a Pennsylvania-based company hired to provide medical care at the festival unleashed a lawsuit after discovering the horrific accommodations.
“When NES arrived on the Island, on or around April 26, 2017, it immediately discovered that the accommodations were uninhabitable, including bug infestation, bloodstained mattresses and no air conditioning.”
Not only that, but the lack of care surrounding important medical planning that could literally save lives was non-existent. Woo hoo!
“At 12:25 a.m. on April 28, 2017, NES discovered that not only had Defendants failed to secure a contract with a medical evacuation helicopter or plane, but that the medical clinic on the Island was also closed. As a result, NES had nowhere to send any patient who may have required emergency care overnight.”
Heaven forbid you should get sick or hurt on a remote island you can’t escape that has no medical facilities. This really is beginning to feel like LOST, isn’t it? Where’s Dr. Jack Shephard when you need him?
Ultimately, the suit called the fest arrangements “a campaign of incompetence, fraud, and deceit,” which sounds kind of generous, TBH.
4. Fyre Fest was a con from the start.
New Jersey resident Andrew Petrozziello paid an obscene amount of money for his luxurious getaway, but sadly (or perhaps luckily), he never made it to the island.
Petrozziello filed a lawsuit against Fyre Fest organizers after he and his friend purchased Weekend 1 tickets for $1,100 each, then got stranded in Miami after the event was cancelled.
“Festival attendees expected a luxury experience; however, they instead encountered the opposite. The island woefully lacked basic infrastructure such as fresh water, plumbing and lodging.”
Infrastructure is key to a good Instagram post, as Fyre Fest should have known.
“…the few contractors that were retained by Defendants had refused to work because they had not been paid. It is also alleged that prior to the event that Defendants advised the musical performers not to come to Fyre Festival. As these problems started to come to light in the month leading up to Fyre Festival, many people began to question the intentions of the Defendants.”
“By continuing to promote Fyre Festival knowing full well that they could not deliver what they had promised their paying customers, Defendants engaged in unlawful, deceptive, and misleading conduct, in violation of applicable law.”
One of the more damning allegations that appeared in multiple lawsuits was that the Fyre Fest crew knew they couldn’t pull this off ahead of time, but you know, just let this thing play out as if they were hoping for some sort of miracle.
Sounds like paradise, right?
“[Plaintiffs] have suffered ascertainable losses while Defendants profited and were unjustly enriched.”
Petrozziello hopes to recover expenses for tickets purchased, travel, and expenses sustained while stranded in Miami against his will. Obviously.
5. The nightmarish sanitation setups.
Surprise! Festival-goers Matthew Herlihy and Anthony Lauriello also hopped aboard the lawsuit train to accuse Fyre Fest organizers of a massive, avoidable, compensation-worthy failure.
“…the island was lacking basic amenities, was covered in dirt, and guests had to sleep in tents with wet blankets.”
“…there were sorta potties (only about one for every 200 yards) that were knocked down and only three showers although there were hundreds of people arriving.”
Sadly, the horrific experience extended far beyond sleeping with wet blankets and ridiculously long bathroom lines.
Besides each dropping $1,027 ticket packages, Herlihy and Lauriello are seeking recovery of money they put on wristbands used for the cashless event and headphones, jeans, sneakers, and other personal items that were reportedly stolen from the festival’s “storage area” — which looks like the gym lockers at an abandoned school.
6. The calls to silence attendees on social media. Seriously.
Yet another $5 million lawsuit was filed in Florida by Kenneth and Emily Reel, a couple who planned on attending the event before things went south. The two claim to have paid $4,600 for a VIP villa at the festival (oy vey) but got stranded in Miami after the festival was postponed.
The lawsuit asserts that Fyre Fest’s advertising and PR firms promoted the event inaccurately, depicting beautiful waters, beaches, and the like, but organizers put in place efforts needed for the event to live up to the stunning ads. For instance, the Reels never could have gone swimming because the island was SURROUNDED BY FREAKING SHARKS!
“Plantiff, Kenneth later realized that the person swimming in blue waters could not have been at the Exumas, as Chloe Gordon, an employee of Defendants, stated that upon landing at the island, she was specifically ‘warned not to go near [the water] because of a rampant shark problem.'”
Aside from the SHARK-INFESTED WATERS (!!!), the festival’s reputation as a dumpster fire with no resources is reiterated in this suit.
“There had been no infrastructure in place for electricity (let alone promised wifi) or sanitation. The luxury domes were not being built, and instead were being replaced by tents.”
“Defendants advised the island would be ‘honoring American Standards for medical safety,’ and a ‘medical tent on the island with professional medical providers.’ This could not be further from the truth, other than the fact that there was a sign for First Aid that was located inside a garage with only boxes, chairs and a water cooler. No medical team was present.”
The suit also claims something truly bizarre: Fyre Fest lawyers sent cease-and-desist letters to attendees who bashed the event on their personal social media accounts.
Again, yes, really:
“As for those individuals who elected to speak negatively about the Defendants on social media, they are now being threatened with legal action via cease and desist letters. Specifically, if the social media comments were not taken down, the Defendants claim they could ‘incite violence, rioting, or civil unrest,’ with the caveat that if ‘ someone innocent does get hurt as a result … Fyre Festival will hold you accountable and responsible.”
Listen, after spending thousands the people needed SOMETHING to post on social media, okay? Not to mention that it was a bunch of BS Instagram posts by Fyre-starting “influencers” that encouraged them to attend this disaster in the first place.
But, as fate would have it, people who pay to attend Fyre Fest are apparently just the kind of people who don’t mind spending a few dollars on a lawsuit or two.
Great job everyone, see ya at Fyre Fest 2018! Woo!
Additional reporting by Marcus Gilmer.