Hulu's Fyre Fraud and Netflix's FYRE: The Greatest Party That Never Happened detail how the disaster of the Fyre Festival came to be - here are the biggest, most shocking reveals from the two documentaries. Scheduled for two weekends in April and May 2017, the Fyre Festival was meant to be an exclusive, high-end event in the Bahamas filled with music, luxury experiences and plenty of partying. What it turned out to be was hundreds of festival-goers sleeping in FEMA tents and fed pathetic-looking cheese sandwiches.
Because the Fyre Festival attracted the kind of people who document much of their lives on social media, the event blew up on social media. Fyre Fest trended on those social media sites, with people at home taking a particular kind of pleasure in watching those who had purchased tickets to the supposedly luxury event suffer without running water and electricity. In the days and weeks after the failed Fyre Festival, its creator - entrepreneur Billy McFarland - was investigated by the FBI for fraud and eventually arrested. Festival-goers also filed lawsuits against McFarland and others involved in the planning and creation of Fyre Fest. Now, two new documentaries have been released diving into Fyre Festival, detailing how the idea came about and where everything went wrong.
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Netflix announced its Fyre documentary in December, with the full trailer for FYRE: The Greatest Party That Never Happened arriving earlier this month. However, just four days before FYRE's planned Jan. 18 release, Hulu debuted its own Fyre documentary, Fyre Fraud. Now viewers wanting to gain insight into what exactly happened with Fyre Festival have two options to watch: FYRE directed by Chris Smith or Fyre Fraud directed by Jenner Furst and Julia Willoughby Nason. Here, we break down the most shocking reveals from BOTH documentaries.
- This Page: Hulu vs Netflix & Shady Social Media Decisions
- Next Page: Questionable Ethics & Post-Festival Consequences
Hulu’s Doc Shades Netflix’s For Bias
By now, most know that Hulu released their Fyre documentary a few days before Netflix's and the reason for this becomes clear toward the end of Fyre Fraud, where it's revealed FYRE was produced in part by Jerry Media, the same company in charge of social media marketing for the festival. Though it's not mentioned in Fyre Fraud, FYRE was also produced alongside Matte Projects, another company that helped advertise the festival.
In the days after Fyre Fraud debuted on Hulu, both docs' filmmakers have commented on the potential ethical quandaries of each film. Fraud co-director Furst told The Ringer they had emails proving Jerry Media employees knew the festival wasn't going as planned and continued marketing it anyway. Meanwhile, FYRE director Smith revealed he was told by McFarland that Fyre Fraud paid him $250,000 for their interview. Furst responded to those claims saying Fraud paid McFarland "less than that" for behind-the-scenes footage and an eight-hour interview. Further, Furst points out that McFarland is a "compulsive liar."
As for Furst and Fyre Fraud's shading of Netflix for working with Jerry Media to produce their documentary, the streaming company responded to The Ringer with a statement about the situation:
We were happy to work with Jerry Media and a number of others on the film. At no time did they, or any others we worked with, request favorable coverage in our film, which would be against our ethics. We stand behind our film, believe it is an unbiased and illuminating look at what happened, and look forward to sharing it with audiences around the world.
So, viewers of both documentaries can draw their own conclusions and decide for themselves who has the ethical high ground here, but one thing is sure: Just like the Fyre Festival itself, the story isn't black-and-white.
McFarland Started Scamming Early
Fyre Fraud dives into McFarland's history, detailing his previous business Magnises as well as his start as an entrepreneur. In one particular anecdote, McFarland reveals he started demonstrating a mind for business in second grade when he offered to fix a classmate's broken crayon for a dollar. He then hacked into his school's internet-connected typewriters in order to market this business of fixing broken crayons. However, as McFarland is telling the story, viewers may notice he never actually explains how he fixed those crayons. Did he actually fix them or did McFarland have an idea and sell that idea before figuring out how to make that idea a reality? If it's the latter, it sets an interesting precedent for his later career.
Organizers Spent $2 Million On Alcohol
Of all the things Fyre Festival employees spent money on, perhaps the most shocking is how much was spent on booze for the event. Delroy Jackson, a local Bahamian who was hired as a fixer for the festival, revealed in Fyre Fraud that the organizers spent $2 million on alcohol, which meant they had to spend an additional $900,000 in taxes to get that booze into the Bahamas. That's especially egregious when compared to the fact that in FYRE, event producer Andy King revealed he was only given a budget of $1 million for food (the festival did originally plan to spend $6 million on a catering contract, but McFarland fired that company and asked King to find someone else for $1 million a few weeks before the event). So the event spent more than double on alcohol as they did on food.