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Fyre won’t fire you, but won’t pay you either, failed festival boss tells staff

By | Published on Friday 12 May 2017

Fyre Festival

As lawsuits against the organisers of the ill-fated Fyre Festival continue to pile up – with one of the venture’s financial backers the latest to go legal – Vice News has published a recording of a post-event conference call in which boss man Billy McFarland tells his staff that no one will be fired as a result of his failed island festival, but that no one is getting paid.

Most of the staff on the call that took place last Friday were actually working on a talent booking app which the woeful attempt at a luxury festival in the Bahamas was designed to promote. In the call, McFarland says: “After conferring with our counsel and all financial people, unfortunately we are not able to proceed with payroll. We’re not firing anyone, we’re just letting you know that there will be no payroll in the short term”.

He went on: “I understand that this is not an ideal situation for everybody, and this will likely cause a lot of you to resign, which we totally get and understand. That said, if you want to stick with us, we’d love to have you and we’d love to work together and hunker down and get back to a place where everything resumes to business as usual”.

According to Vice, many of McFarland’s team did subsequently resign last weekend, though by refusing to make them redundant Fyre Media may have made it difficult for those people to collect any unemployment benefits that may have otherwise been due to them. One employee also noted that salaries had often been paid in an informal fashion since last October, sometimes in cash, and she wondered whether there was any formal record of her actually being on the staff at all.

Another employee on the conference call revealed that she had heard that at least one of her colleagues on the Fyre team had been contacted by the FBI in relation to the festival debacle. “Should we be concerned about the FBI, Billy?” she asked. “That’s really more of an individual thing,” McFarland replied, before offering access to Fyre Media’s lawyers if the feds came a-calling.

McFarland’s co-founder Ja Rule was also on the call, but mainly to listen. Early on he announced, “I’m on the phone but I can barely hear you all because of this fucking hum”.

Neither McFarland, Ja Rule nor the Fyre companies have as yet responded to any of the litigation that is now piling up against them. You have to think that some sort of action from former staff will soon be added to that pile.