The controversy over the Fyre Festival has continued to unfold with a $100 million lawsuit against organizers, along with the publication of a leaked document that shows how social media celebrities, notably “partner” Kendall Jenner, were involved in helping to promote the two-weekend event that was billed as an opulent Bahamas getaway with amazing live-music entertainment — but turned into what has been likened to a “Lord of the Flies” dystopia.
On Monday, organizers, led by Fyre Media co-founders Ja Rule and Billy McFarland, were hit with a $100 lawsuit filed by celebrity attorney Mark Geragos on behalf of 150 anticipated plaintiffs.
The filing alleges fraud and breach of contract, among other things, specifically alleging that McFarland and Ja Rule subjected attendees to conditions on a remote island that was more “Lord of the Flies” and “Hunger Games” than Coachella. Those conditions, which included inadequate food, shelter and water, placed attendees in potential danger after they spent up to $250,000 to fly to the Bahamas to be pampered with luxury accommodations and top-ranked music.
The lawsuit furthermore says that organizers warned musicians and celebrity promoters, like 21-year-old Kendall, to stay away from remote Fyre Cay when it became clear they weren’t able to pull things together — but that they didn’t warn attendees of the same.
While organizers and at least one celebrity promoter, Bella Hadid, offered explanations or half-hearted apologies for the calamity, supermodel and Kardashian family member Kendall has remained silent.
However, Kendall, who also faced a social media firestorm for her involvement in last month’s disastrous, culturally insensitive Pepsi ad, managed to earn lots of buzz Monday evening — but not for anything having to do with the Fyre Festival.
Not acting as if she was at all bothered by the latest calamity, she showed up on the red carpet at the Met Gala in New York, wearing a sheer dress that revealed she was wearing little underneath.
Her red carpet appearance came around the time that Vanity Fair posted pages from the 43-page “pitch deck” that Fyre Festival organizers produced in their effort to seek $25 million in funding.
Their big sell, according to writer Nick Bilton, was the claim that they had enlisted the promotional help of 400 “influencers” like Kendall and her supermodel friends Hadid, Hailey Baldwin and Emily Ratajkowski.
These influencers, called “Fyre Starters” in the pitch, were tasked with using their social accounts, with their hundreds of millions of followers, to convince thousands of people to pay thousands of dollars to attend.
The pitch called the Fyre Starters “ambassadors” and said they were “part of and representative of the Fyre Tribe” and would “lead the attendance of an influential audience at the Fyre Festival.” The document claimed that social media promotions posted by these influencers had reached more than 300 million people within 24 hours.
Kendall herself was said to have “amassed approximately 6 million unique impressions within five days” of promoting the event on her account, leading to “an exponential leap in website views and ticket purchases.”
Influencers, as writer Bilton explains, are those on Instagram who “seem to live in a constant state of happiness … walking around in bikinis at a pool or beach all day, and hanging out with one of the Kardashians enjoying free bottle service at the club all night.”
Influencers “have essentially become walking integrated-marketing campaigns,” Bilton said.
The Fyre Festival pitch shows that Kendall was the main star out of all the star influencers. In fact, the pitch singles her out as “partnering” with them to promote the lineup of musical talent the festival would feature, according to the entire page of the pitch dedicated to her involvement.
That talent would come from the G.O.O.D. Music Family. G.O.O.D is the record label founded by Kendall’s brother-in-law Kanye West; stars on the label include John Legend, Tyga, Big Sean, Pusha T, Desiigner, Migos, Teyana Taylor and Mos Def.
Back in January, Kendall boasted about her Fyre association on her Instagram account. In her post, since taken down, she described the festival as the “cultural experience of the decade” and offered her followers “VIP access,” as well as a promotional code “to get on the list for the artists and talent after-party on Fyre Cay.”
As the controversy unfolded over the weekend, Kendall said nothing about it. But she was nonetheless busy on Instagram, posting a topless photo of herself, striking a confident pose as she donned a pair of hip-high orange boots and a fedora. She captioned her picture, “playing dress up,” People reported.
playing dress up
For her role in the Fyre Festival disaster, following the Pepsi ad controversy, Kendall faced pretty fierce backlash on social media, much more than other celebrities.
@KendallJenner girl, you better show up and hand a pepsi to everyone scammed by fyre fest quick
— Monique (@moniquexjade) April 28, 2017
One self-described entertainment lawyer, based in Hollywood, added:
Pretty busy last couple of weeks for @KendallJenner deleting all those Pepsi and Fyre Festival promotions from her social media.
— Enty Lawyer (@entylawyer) April 28, 2017
It’s possible that Kendall could face legal difficulties in the near future. The Guardian, citing the Vanity Fair report, said that Kendall and her Fyre Starter friends could be in trouble with the Federal Trade Commission.
Bilton reported that these influencers were to receive free flights, accommodations and tickets to the event — and perhaps payment — for their help in promoting the event as the “biggest FOMO-inducing event of 2017.”
The FTC requires celebrities who share promotional materials to “clearly and conspicuously disclose their relationships to brands,” the Guardian said. It’s unclear yet whether regulators have received any complaints about the Fyre Festival.
The FTC did not immediately respond to the Guardian’s request for comment on Monday night.