Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened (2019)
January 19, 2019 9:31 PM - Subscribe

Two documentaries came out this week about the infamous Fyre music festival. Why don't we talk about both of them here? Metafilter post about the controversy between the competing Fyre Festival documentaries, and the original Metafilter post about the festival.
posted by lunasol (19 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I haven't seen the Hulu one yet (because I don't have Hulu), but I'm not sure I want to see McFarland interviewed for any reason. He ran two scams which made him a lot of money, and then he stupidly lost it all because he wanted to act like he was a bigger deal than he turned out to be.

The saddest part of the whole story is all the residents of the Bahamas who were left without pay, essentially to stroke one asshole's ego. I don't really care about influencer culture or whether or not it's appropriate to feel schadenfreude over people expecting to be treated like rock stars on a McDonald's budget, but I am enraged at the hard-working people who did back-breaking labor without any compensation, and then just left with the devastation this all created.
posted by xingcat at 10:46 AM on January 21, 2019 [8 favorites]

One of the documentaries (I think it was the Netflix one) ended with some info on the ongoing court cases. There is a class action suit from Fyre Fest ticket-buyers, but the lawyer of one of the attendees explained that class action suits take a long time, so he already filed a suit on his client's behalf and came away with a $5 mil judgment. It was a really dispiriting cap on the whole thing. Local workers were out $, the Bahamian government was out $ (since Fyre Fest clearly wasn't paying some of the required import duties, and also had to deal with the failed festival costing them both time and bad press), even some of the dopey enabler employees were out $ (one guy said that he wouldn't get 70% of his pay until the day of the festival -- that doesn't quite excuse continuing to work for Fyre, but it explains why he didn't quit).

I'm assuming the lawyer hasn't been able to collect on the whole $5 mil judgment, but if I were to guess: 1) the investors that dumped their money into this stupid project scavenged everything of value first 2) the guys with the $5 mil judgment will try to get any of McFarland's remaining assets, it sounds like they already settled with Ja Rule 3) the class action lawyer will collect on anything that might be left. The people who least need or deserve the money will be the first to get it.

(I'm not counting the $130,000+ raised for the caterer screwed over by Fyre Fest because that's crowd-funded money, not Fyre's money.)
posted by grandiloquiet at 11:11 AM on January 21, 2019 [4 favorites]

I'm not sure I want to see McFarland interviewed for any reason.

Oh, you definitely do, if only to see how flawlessly and easily a truly great compulsive liar lies. He lies so well I think he actually believes it all, and he'd disagree that he's a con artist or a scammer (which, of course, he definitely is). I found it fascinating.

Contrast that with, say, the current POTUS, who may have at some point been a great liar, but who has now only retained the compulsivity and not the skill.
posted by fiercecupcake at 1:31 PM on January 21, 2019 [6 favorites]

I felt like one really should see both. For one, the Netflix one is produced by the social media company that was part of the scam (Fuck Jerry), which is pointed out in the Netflix one.
And while some of the people interviewed were the same (the business guy that started the Twitter fraud account, mostly but also Billy's newish girlfriend), it was a different local fixer and different influencers.

The Netflix one had more access to employees of the app company, which was interesting. Netflix also had a lot more footage and information about the local workers getting screwed - including the bar owner. It also didn't let us know what a shit show it was until towards the end of the documentary. The Hulu one starts with it being a shit show and gave some additional background on Billy that was interesting, including a lot more of his investors (although no one was asked to engage in a sex act in order to get Evian on Hulu).

I'm glad we watched both back to back.
posted by k8t at 6:25 PM on January 21, 2019 [5 favorites]

I’m watching both right now. There is apparently so much story to this that both stories contain basically separate but parallel concurrent stories. THERE ARE SO many details and they’re just divided equally in half.

The most striking thing to me is that EVERYONE mentioned saying this sounded really bad the first time they heard about it. Even ticket holders at the airport saying “I hope this isn’t a disaster”. Like the bartender who told Billy the first day he thought of it. And yet they all kept going! Oh just think positive it’ll be ok! It’ll work out! The thing white culture doesn’t want to admit is that positivity is great but it literally can’t exist on its own. Everything can’t be all positive all the time.

The other striking thing is that nobody’s parents said hey don’t be involved in that? That sounds like bad news? Like at the point where you’re sending emails where you know these people in your care won’t be safe, nobody has friends or families to tell them to wake up and get out?

Okay and also nobody has the money to help out the poor restaurant owner who didn’t sign up for this? Like none of these rich folks want to be popular heroes?
posted by bleep at 7:09 PM on January 21, 2019 [4 favorites]

It’s also striking how the Netflix doc makes it look a lot more innocent, like just a giant fuck up but we meant well. The Hulu doc really goes into detail about Billy being a good old fashioned con man from way back. Like the ticket scam at the end of the Netflix one was what he was doing before the app started.
posted by bleep at 7:15 PM on January 21, 2019 [3 favorites]

The Netflix doc also felt sort of dry and boring as compared to the Hulu doc. The few people who appeared in both documentaries felt a bit more scripted and talking head in the Netflix doc, as if they had some sort of lines to adhere to.
posted by loriginedumonde at 7:19 PM on January 21, 2019 [2 favorites]

It kind of made me think of what would happen if David Rose from Schitts Creek was a bad guy.
posted by bleep at 7:54 PM on January 21, 2019 [1 favorite]

My husband and I watched both documentaries over the weekend. We both liked the Hulu one way better. I thought the Netflix one was a little dry, with the exception of the Evian water story (which...WOW) and the interview with the caterer, who I felt so terrible for.
posted by Aquifer at 10:09 AM on January 22, 2019

Seriously. The Evian water story. Like....how? How do you, as a functional adult human not in the porn industry, get to a point where you actually think you'd suck a dick because your boss asked you to? I can't even begin to wrap my head around this.
posted by teleri025 at 10:35 AM on January 22, 2019 [4 favorites]

Seriously. The Evian water story. Like....how? How do you, as a functional adult human not in the porn industry, get to a point where you actually think you'd suck a dick because your boss asked you to? I can't even begin to wrap my head around this.

Also, and I'm sorry for saying this, but as a Gay Man of a Certain Age (close to the guy who was helping Billy out), who was the official who called and requested some Old Man Head? Because that's a very specific request you don't see very often.
posted by xingcat at 11:45 AM on January 22, 2019 [8 favorites]

I kind of thought that was Billy being dumb and homophobic and assuming because the official was gay (or he thought he was), that's what would be require.
posted by lunasol at 12:45 PM on January 22, 2019 [9 favorites]

It was definitely the biggest WTF moment in a documentary full of them (I've only seen the Netflix one).
posted by lunasol at 12:45 PM on January 22, 2019 [2 favorites]

One thing I didn't love about the Hulu documentary was how much Millennial-bashing there was. Everything was part of a theme, and that theme was "Millennials are vain and superficial and greedy and and and." It excused some of Billy's criminal behavior (he's just a product of his time!) and undercut some of the more interesting factors that led to Fyre existing in the first place.
posted by witchen at 8:33 AM on January 23, 2019 [6 favorites]

Seriously. The Evian water story. Like....how?

Even worse - very early in the Netflix one, that very guy is onscreen saying "I hope Billy doesn't go to jail for this." Somehow, he went through that whole ordeal and doesn't think his scummy boss should go to jail??? I hope he finds the help he clearly needs.
posted by dnash at 12:27 PM on January 23, 2019 [7 favorites]

I watched the Hulu one second, and it felt like it contained more relevant info than the Netflix doc, but also that it would have made less narrative sense without the background provided by Netflix. Like, Netflix left a lot of unanswered questions (how the fuck did Magnises work? And who was Rich Idiot Zero who set this guy up with money in the first place?) that Hulu filled in. But the Hulu one was kind of all over the place and seemed to rush through some of the key developments that Netflix lingered on.

So yeah, if you watch only one documentary about Fyre Festival, make it both of these.
posted by prize bull octorok at 11:09 AM on January 25, 2019 [5 favorites]

How do you, as a functional adult human not in the porn industry, get to a point where you actually think you'd suck a dick because your boss asked you to?

Okay, I just took this in, and I can't stop thinking about it. Either this was potentially the only source of drinking water for all these people, in which case the poor bastard was pretty much facing a personal trolley problem and thought he had to do this to prevent illness or even death, or it was the only source of Evian water, in which case . . . I do not begin to understand the very rich. I am easily charmed by kindly-looking older fellows who say "oh my gosh" a lot, but I suspect Andy King has truly seen some shit in his line of work.
posted by Countess Elena at 10:09 AM on January 26, 2019 [6 favorites]

Having finally gotten around to watching the Netflix doc, it sure feels to me like a Big Thing that's been largely overlooked in the various media coverage of the festival debacle and the aftermath does get a relatively quick mention at the end of the Netflix film - the part where McFarland blatantly lied to investors in Fyre Media and created false documents to support his phony claims that the company was bringing in and/or had far more money than they actually did. Things like claiming that he owned over 2 million in Facebook stock when he really owned less than $1500, claiming that certain people or companies had already invested when they hadn't (in order to convince other investors that Fyre was a good bet), totally faking whatever paperwork he showed investors that claimed millions in income when Fyre probably only made about $60,000. And those are (mostly) the things that got him sent to jail - the Festival was really only the part that brought this all crashing down, it wasn't actually the major part of his crimes.
posted by soundguy99 at 4:14 PM on July 16, 2019 [3 favorites]

So I finally got to see the Hulu one (on an airplane, of all places), and I agree it's the better one, mainly because it's a lot more pointed in its indictment of not only McFarland but also Fuck Jerry and the whole influencer-advertising industry.
posted by Pyry at 7:05 PM on December 17, 2019

« Older RuPaul's All Stars Drag Race: ...   |  Saturday Night Live: Rachel Br... Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments