Facing the Fyre: What The People Involved with Netflix and Hulu's Fyre Festival Documentaries Are Currently Up To


Both films featured interviews with the major players behind Fyre, even McFarland himself (who was paid by Hulu for the exclusive sitdown), as well as people close to McFarland, the local Bahamian workers whose lives were impacted greatly, and the influencers who ended up sleeping in the unfinished tents in the Bahamas when they were expecting luxurious suites. 

While Fyre Fraud and Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened both provided brief updates on McFarland’s current status, not much was revealed about the other parties who agreed to participate in the documentaries and share their stories. 

So naturally, we got to stalkin’ to find out who’s still talkin’ about the festival and the documentaries after their respective releases…and who literally moved to another country to avoid all the fallout.

Netflix

McFarland began his six-year prison sentence after he was found guilty of defrauding investors out of $26 million in November 2018. (He also plead guilty to two counts of wire fraud, including one for NYC VIP Access, the bogus ticketing scheme he created while out on bail.) After he completes his time in jail, he will be serve three years of supervised release.

After his sentencing, McFarland, now 27, issued an apology to People.

“I am incredibly sorry for my collective actions and will right the wrongs I have delivered to my family, friends, partners, associates and, you, the general public,” he said. “I’ve always sought—and dreamed—to accomplish incredible things by pushing the envelope to deliver for a common good, but I made many wrong and immature decisions along the way and I caused agony. As a result, I’ve lived every day in prison with pain, and I will continue to do so until I am able to make up for some of this harm through work and actions that society finds respectable.”

According to the Hulu documentary, McFarland is teaching a music entrepreneurship class to his fellow inmates at the Otisville Federal Correctional Facility in New York.

Ja Rule, Billy McFarland, Fyre

Netflix

The rapper didn’t participate in either documentary, but was heavily featured in both as he was Fyre’s co-founder, working closely with McFarland.

While McFarland went to prison, Ja Rule, 42, has remained in the clear and defended himself on social media after the documentaries went viral.

“I had an amazing vision to create a festival like NO OTHER!!! I would NEVER SCAM or FRAUD anyone what sense does that make???” he tweeted. He also wrote, “I too was hustled, scammed, bamboozled, hood winked, lead astray!!!”

Still, Ja Rule was the subject of multiple lawsuits because of his ties to Fyre.

Since the demise of Fyre, Ja Rule has since started a new venture, an app called ICONN, a “celebrity entertainment book & concierge  service.” Sound familiar?

 “it’s very different, but it’s similar,” Ja Rule admits in a clip from his interview on a show called Drink Champs in the Hulu doc of the comparison of ICONN to Fyre.

He declined to participate in either documentary.

Fyre Festival, Andy King

“I just don’t want to necessarily be known as the Blow Job Kind of the world.” Talk about talking #friendshipgoals to a whole new level.

The breakout moment from Netflix’s documentary? When the seasoned event producer admitted he was willing to perform oral sex on a customs officer in order to gain access to water for the festival at McFarland’s request. 

And in a recent video posted by Netflix, King admitted he was “completely blown away” (no pun intended, we presume) by the response to the documentary. “I am now a noun, a verb, an adjective…it’s mind-blogging.” 

King was known as “the Billy whisperer” as he was his mentor, and admitted to the L.A. Times he hasn’t cut ties with his imprisoned protégé.

“No, I’m not done with him. I know — I’m Uncle Whackjob,” he said. “But I grew up in New Jersey, he grew up in New Jersey. We come from a preppy background. Half my friends have sons his age. I didn’t have somebody to mentor me at that age. He’s not a horrible guy. He has hurt a lot of people. Will I probably go visit him someday? Yeah, I will probably. And maybe that’s the closure I need.”

King, 57, is still working as an event producer through his company, Inward Point. He also helped start a GoFundMe to help pay back all of the local Bahamian workers who were not compensated for their tireless efforts to help put the festival together. 

Fyre Festival, Maryann Rolle

Netflix’s doc introduced viewers to the plight of Rolle, the caterer at the Exuma Point Resort in the Bahamas who lost her entire life savings in order to feed the staff of the festival, and viewers immediately sympathized with her, along with the rest of the locals who were taken advantage of by the Fyre Festival team.  

Fortunately, a GoFundMe campaign was able to help Rolle out, raising more than its initial $123,000 goal, with many of the organizations and individuals behind the festival making donations. 

But all of the attention has been hard for Maryanne, as her husband Elvis Rolle, who works alonside his wife at the hotel, revealed in an interview that she has fallen ill due to stress. “She can’t cope with it all,” he told The National. “I hope she feels better soon.”

But of the overwhelming response to the GoFundMe campaign, he said, “”It means everything, it means we get something back from everything we put in. It is like God is watching over us.”

Fyre Festival, Anastasia Eremenko

Eremenko is McFarland’s girlfriend who appeared in the Hulu documentary, revealing the letter McFarland had wrote her from jail.

The Russian model, who has shot campaigns for Balmain and Guess,  met McFarland after the Fyre Festival debacle, calling it “destiny.”

Her Instagram is currently set to private and the couple is still believed to be together.

Fyre Festival, Mick Purzycki

The Jerry Media CEO took part on and off screen in the Netflix documentary, appearing on camera to explain his company’s part in the festival’s promotional strategy on social media.

“We were responsible for their social media designs and helping with marketing, pre-launch,” Purzycki, the son of the mayor of Wilmington, Delaware, explained to Town Square Delaware. “We were one of six New York marketing agencies working together. One of the agencies did a great job: the event sold out. Where the festival failed was on the island.”

According to the GoFundMe page, the company donated $20,000 to Rolle’s campaign, with the site’s founder Elliot Tebele donating an addition $20,000.

Fyre Festival, Oren Aks

The former Jerry Media employee was the only person from the company to participate in Hulu’s documentary, much to his former employer’s chagrin. (“Well, f—k you guys,” Aks said when Jerry Media said he “misrepresented himself” in a written  statement provided to the filmmakers.)

Since taking on the role of whistleblower, the graphic designer told Page Six that “it took me about a year to come to terms with what happened. I was under the radar for like a year.” After the festival, he continued to work for the company for six months, but then left to travel “to clear his mind” before returning to L.A. to start his own social media marketing agency.

But by the end of 2018, he moved abroad permanently.  “Originally people were just like reaching out to me all the time and I was just like, ‘I don’t want to hear it. I don’t want to be living it. I just don’t care,'” he told Page Six.

Fyre Festival, Justin Liao

One of the festival attendees who was the subject of many tweets was Liao, who admitted to stealing beds and peeing on mattresses on the first night of the festival.

He addressed his actions on Instagram after the documentary’s release, writing, “People are upset with me, and I understand why – I definitely didn’t come across well in the film given the way it was cut.”

He then proceeded to give “background” on why he and his friends did this, claiming the tents were empty anyway.

“People spread rumors about locals wielding machetes, tents and stands being set on fire, and rabid dogs roaming the site (all of which was later revealed to be false),” he wrote. “On film, I was laughing when telling the story, but in reality, at Fyre, we were panicked. What I was laughing about on film was the fact the absurdity of the whole situation in retrospect. @chris_smith knows this 🙂 i was laughing the entire hours and a half I was being interviewed in recalling the pandemonium and ridiculous things everyone was doing.”

He then posted a link to Rolle’s GoFundMe campaign in his bio. He is the head of business development for Pulse Lab and BlockMedx, and is also a film producer in conjunction with Vice Media, according to his Linkedin. (Vice Media produced the Netflix doc.)

Fyre Festival, Mark Crawford

Crawford was one of the festival attendees who appeared in Netflix’s doc, he is one of the founders and the CMO of Elevate Venture Group. And he was a particular favorite participant of the film’s director Chris Smith, who told the Observer, “I think Mark Crawford is incredibly charismatic and funny in his ability to recall and tell the story.”

And Crawford recently talked about all the attention he’s been receiving since the movie’s release.

“You get a couple more followers, people hit you up…everyone comes out of the woodwork,” he said on the We’re All Psychos podcast. “This is not the way to be known!” He added he has received “unsolicited nudes” since the documentary premiered.

Fyre Festival, Austin Mills

A social host for the NBA and vlogger, Austin Mills hasn’t publicly sounded off on his participation in the Hulu doc, but he did retweet the trailer for Fyre Fraud. And he also responded to someone criticizing him on Twitter, writing, “Find out facts before you speak out man…My ‘influencing’ had nothing to do with fyre. I went all on my own & paid money to go with my friends. Be better.”

He also addressed the attention on his brand (as well as Alyssa’s) being described as “positivity,” responding, “Why can’t we both talk about positivity? That’s what our world needs more of. Not y our negative tweets.”

Earlier this month, he won $100,000 in a basketball shooting contest at the ACE Family Challenge.

Fyre Festival, Alyssa Lynch

The social media influencer who sat down for the Hulu doc (and whose footage from the festival was used in both films, including a moment that got a lot of buzz in which she described her seat on the plane as worse than “low low economy”) is still influencin’, with 486,000 followers on Instagram.

She also recently starred in Deadly Match, a Lifetime movie about a dating site that turns out to be a prostitution hub. Lynch has occasionally addressed all of the hateful comments she’s received since the Fyre Fraud debuted on her Instagram Stories, explaining she and her friends were not yet aware that some festival goers did not get put up in villas when they recorded their videos dancing and having fun in their private mansion. 

Fyre Festival, Seth Crossno

One of the festival’s attendees who ended up pursuing legal action, Cressno appeared in both documentaries to recount his experience with Fyre, and told the L.A. Times he preferred his experience with the filmmakers of the Netflix film.

“The Hulu doc,” he told the publication, “felt like their take is that influencers and social media is really to blame for the whole thing.” (Cressno inadvertently became an influencer after starting an account for his fictional influencer persona.)

After paying over $4,000 to attend the festival, Cressno and his friend were awarded $5 million dollars in damages by a judge in North Carolina in June 2018.

“Apparently Billy has a plan to get us the $5 million, but I don’t know if we will get it,” Cressno told the L.A. Times.

Fyre Festival, Brett Kincaid

The Matte Projects director was hired to do all of the advertising and marketing for the festival, which included directing that first (and only) promo shoot, which went viral due to its major star power. (Bella Hadid, Emily Ratajkowski and more celebrities appeared in it…which they might be regretting now.)

Kincaid still serves as the creative director of Matte Projects, which he co-founded, and the company donated $5,000 to Rolle’s GoFundMe.

After the campaign exceeded its goal, Kincaid wrote on Instagram, “That’s just fantastic! Absolutely Incredible. Thank you isn’t really the right phrase because I have no relationship to this person at all, but this broad act of kindness will change her life and many around her. Without a shadow of a doubt, that’s PRETTY.”

Fyre Festival, Luca Sabatini

Hired to handle technical production for the festival’s acts, Sabatini said he was only brought in 45 days prior to when Fyre was set to kick off. By the end of the documentary, Sabatini said he lost hundreds of thousands of dollars after the weekend was over. Why? Because McFarland and  the festival didn’t pay their customs bill, all of Sabatini’s equipment was seized by the government.

His company, Unreal Systems, still provided audio and event production services for festivals.

Fyre Festival, Samuel Krost

Hired to book acts for the festival like Major Lazer and Blink-182, Krost was one of the youngest team members and claimed  to have been left with $150,000 on his personal American Express card because of McFarland in the Netflix documentary.

Krost started his own clothing line, KROST, describing it on Instagram as “a youth-inspired label rooted in the idea of friendship.”

His famous friends include Selena Gomez, whom he was romantically linked to pre-Fyre festival, the Hadid sisters and Hailey Baldwin.

Fyre Festival, Marc Weinstein

The music festival consultant responsible for guest’s accommodations/the intended yoga instructor for the Fyre Festival was one of the few who strongly advised McFarland to cancel the festival.

He still works at Wave Financial, which delivers “early-stage venture strategy to the cryptocurrency and blockchain market,” occasionally blogs for Medium, and yes, still practices yoga.

He also posted a link to Rolle’s GoFundMe campaign on his Instagram.

Fyre Festival, Keith Pilot

Credited as just Keith in Netflix’s documentary, the infamous commercial’s pilot (who, um, taught himself how to fly!) also handled logistics for Fyre…until he was asked to leave the festival after raising concerns to McFarland.

Van der Linde now serves as the digital content editor for CIPD, a human resources company in London.

Fyre Festival, Shiyuen Deng

The product designer for Fyre sounded off on the confusion and chaos happening back in the New York office of the company as the product team was removed from the festival operations, and also provided insight into McFarland’s powerful effect on people. 

While McFarland all but fired the team after the festival’s demise, Deng came out OK: she is now one of Nike’s design leads, according to her Linkedin page.

Fyre Festival, Michael Ciccarelli

The software engineer who worked for Fyre appeared in the Netflix movie and detailed what the experience was like for the production development side of the team, seems to be taking his recent brush with Internet fame in stride.

“Fyre doc has flooded my inbox with people looking for (gullible?) engineers to help build their apps,” he tweeted on Jan. 24. He then wrote, “if you’re interested in startups, influencer marketing, the entertainment industry, or just watching people fail miserably, check out FYRE on Netflix.”

Fyre Festival, MDavid Low

Fyre’s creative director became Chrissy Teigen‘s favorite after she live-tweeted the Hulu doc, and he’s spent a lot of time on Twitter explaining how to pronounce his name. (The M is not silent.)

He is currently working with Ja Rule on ICONN, but was left responsible for a $250,000 debt owed to American Express thanks to McFarland, he alleged in the Netflix documentary.

Fyre Festival, Grant Margolin

Margolin was Fyre’s chief marketing officer after working with McFarland on his previous venture, Magnises, after he was a member with several complaints.

Following Fyre Festival, Margolin agreed to pay a $35,000 penalty. He was also barred from serving as a director or officer of a company for seven years, though he never admitted to or denied the SEC’s charges.

Fyre Festival, Martin Howell

The co-founder of Magnises, who also worked on Fyre, is now working as the head of strategy at SOL, Inc., which “enables virtual face-to-face dialogues between the people with questions and the experts with answers.”

Fyre Fraud is currently available to stream on Hulu, while Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened is available on Netflix. 



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