Employees Were Told To Delete Negative Comments
One controversial point of both Fyre documentaries is the way Jerry Media handled the social media marketing for the festival. While those interviewed by Fyre Fraud shade the Jerry Media employees for deleting negative comments from the festival's social feeds, Jerry Media Mick Purzycki explains to FYRE that they were told by someone at Fyre Media to do so - though it's unclear who exactly gave that order. To be sure, there's still the question of whether an employee should follow a direct order if they believe it to be unethical, and that's arguably one of the major themes of FYRE. Whereas, those interviewed for Fyre Fraud depict it as more of a cut and dry situation, positioning what Jerry Media did as unquestionably wrong.
“Take One Big Thing For The Team”
Perhaps the most shocking moment across both Fyre Fraud and FYRE is the revelation from event producer Andy King in which he details one particular instance when McFarland asked him to "take one big thing for the team." Days before the festival was meant to begin, the organizers learned that Customs was holding the event's bottled water until they were paid the import taxes due on it. Customs was asking for $175,000 in cash that day for the water, but McFarland didn't have the money. So, as explained by King, McFarland asked King, "Will you suck dick to fix this water problem?" And King tells the cameras he went to the Customs office "fully prepared" to do what McFarland had asked of him, but he ended up not needing to. Instead, the head of Customs released the water with the request that they be one of the first ones paid. However, it's unclear if the festival ever paid for that water, though it seems unlikely.
Things Got Dire When The Bahamian Workers Weren’t Paid
In the days after Fyre Festival was cancelled, a number of people went unpaid, including the Bahamians who worked day and night to set up the festival grounds. As explained by the various former Fyre employees in FYRE, some of the Bahamians went to the campground demanding payment and supposedly some put out "hits" to kidnap or injure employees. One local restaurant owner, Maryann Rolle, told FYRE that she ended up paying some of the workers she hired to help feed Fyre employees out of her own pocket - to the tune of $50,000 from her savings. Another Bahamian McFarland hired for the festival, J.R., told FYRE he left his home to avoid being harassed by workers who went unpaid by the event. The failure of Fyre Festival had a huge impact on those in the Bahamas who were scammed out of time, labor and money.
McFarland Tried To Steal From Customs Post-Festival
As revealed in Fyre Fraud by Delroy Jackson, McFarland returned to the Bahamas two weeks after the festival failed in order to retrieve the Fyre-branded merchandise that had been left behind. (Side note: It's unclear how much the organizers spent on this merch, but it's money that clearly wasn't spent elsewhere - like on food or accommodations.) The merch had been seized by Customs when the Fyre Festival failed to pay its taxes. As for whether he and McFarland were successful in stealing the merchandise from Customs, Jackson says, "Me ain't never stole any merch," and laughs.
Everyone Knew Fyre Festival Would Be A Disaster - Including Ja Rule
Both Fyre Fraud and FYRE attempt to explore and figure out where exactly the Fyre Festival went wrong - was it doomed from the start because of McFarland's involvement or were others also responsible for the resulting disaster? Across both documentaries, it becomes clear that a number of things contributed to the Fyre Festival getting to the point it did, not least of which being McFarland's insistence in keeping it going and his employees following his lead despite their own reservations. According to multiple interviewees, both McFarland and Ja Rule were warned Fyre Festival would be a disaster, but they kept it going anyway.
One particularly telling comment comes in FYRE from music festival consultant Marc Weinstein when recalling the night before the festival was to launch. Though he's not sure it's 100 percent accurate, he says that when it started raining hours before guests were meant to arrive, soaking the tents and mattresses, someone commented, "At least they won't get away with it now." That comment goes to show how seemingly well known it was the festival wouldn't go well, though whether the employees knew it would be as much of a disaster as it ended up being is up for debate. Much of the latter half of FYRE features the various employees ruminating on their responsibility in Fyre Festival and the guilt they still feel over the event.
All told, Fyre Fraud and FYRE: The Greatest Party That Never Happened are documentaries about the same subject, but from different perspectives. Because of these different perspectives, viewers at home can learn a great deal about the failed music festival. But, ultimately, these are the most shocking reveals in both Fyre documentaries.
Fyre Fraud is currently available to stream on Hulu, while FYRE: The Greatest Party That Never Happened is on Netflix.