Litigation is piling up like bonfire kindling against organizers of the Fyre Festival that flamed out in a fiasco.
Angry participants had lashed out on social media with the hashtag (hash)fyrefraud as the music festival fell apart on an island in the Bahamas in April and fraud is the first claim in a $100 million class-action suit.
The suit amended earlier this month in federal court on behalf of a Los Angeles man said the events planned over two weekends were “nothing more than a get-rich-quick scam” akin to a Ponzi scheme that put the lives – and small fortunes – of thousands of participants in jeopardy.
“The festival’s lack of adequate food, water, shelter, and medical care created a dangerous and panicked situation among attendees – suddenly finding themselves stranded on a remote island without basic provisions – that was closer to ‘The Hunger Games’ or ‘Lord of the Flies’ than Coachella,” according to the suit filed by attorney Mark Geragos.
The lawsuit is one of several filed in the wake of the disaster that unfolded on the island of Exuma late last month when inadequate planning and facilities led performers to bow out and organizers to cancel the show once billed as the “the cultural experience of the decade.”
In the amended complaint filed in U.S. District Court, Geragos said 300 people had contacted his offices after the initial suit was filed last month against organizers Billy McFarland, rapper Ja Rule, whose real name is Jeffrey Atkins, and Fyre Media Inc. Among dozens of unnamed defendants are deep-pocketed investors who provided seed money for the event.
The event promoted on social media by Kendall Jenner, Bella Hadid, Emily Ratajkowski and other models and celebrities targeted well-heeled Millennials with ticket packages ranging from $1,200 to over $100,000 and promising five-star dining and luxury accommodations. Headliners included rockers Blink-182, hip-hop act Migos and the electronic music trio Major Lazer.
Instead of putting the tropical island on the map as the next big destination music experience, Fyre Festival only succeeded in sparking outrage.
Participants arrived to find a venue partly under construction, insipid food and soggy beds under leaking tents. One photo included in the suit showed a Styrofoam container with bread, two pieces of packaged cheese, lettuce and sliced tomato.
Lawsuits filed in New York and Miami federal courts made similar claims after Geragos filed the Los Angeles case.
Attorney Stacey Richman, who represents Ja Rule, said he wouldn’t participate in anything fraudulent.
After the event was canceled, the rapper had posted an apology online saying he was heartbroken, but that it was not a scam and it was not his fault.
Efforts to reach McFarland, Fyre Media or attorneys who have responded to lawsuits on their behalf were unsuccessful.
McFarland previously promised full refunds and offered his apology on the festival’s website. He also said he would offer free VIP passes to next year’s festival.
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