Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Fyre Festival isn’t firing its employees, but it isn’t paying them either

(Photo: Getty Images For City Harvest, Nicholas Hunt)

Though the scope and horror isn’t quite as massive, the continued slow-motion collapse of the Fyre Festival is starting to look more and more like the massive trainwreck that is the Trump administration. Just yesterday, we reported that a new lawsuit was accusing festival organizers Ja Rule and Billy McFarland of continuing to sell tickets and VIP passes even after they’d warned artists that the event wasn’t really going to happen, and now Vice News has obtained audio of a conference call between McFarland and Fyre employees in which he reveals that none of them will be getting paid.

It’s not all bad news, though, because McFarland noted that nobody is being fired. So they’re still free to continue working, but “there will be no payroll in the short term.” His angle was that people who want to stick around and help build Fyre into something that is not a massive disgrace can do so, but it doesn’t sound like employees were really buying it. One reportedly asked why they weren’t being fired, since that means they’re unable to collect unemployment benefits, and another—who was being paid in cash—asked if there was even any record of her working there at all.


The question that best sums up just how much of a mess this is, though, is the one asking McFarland if they should “be concerned about the FBI.” He responded that any FBI concerns are “more of an individual thing,” but anyone who hears from the organization should contact Fyre’s lawyers. When you’re worried about what to do when the FBI calls, it’s rarely a good sign.

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