Models Subject to Subpoenas for Fyre Festival Endorsements

Top models including Kendall Jenner, Bella Hadid and Emily Ratajkowski are feeling the heat for their involvement with Fyre Festival, the infamous luxury music festival that never came to be.

On Jan. 25 a judge granted a request allowing attorneys to subpoena the companies and modeling agencies that represent the influencers along with the models who promoted Fyre Festival. This order mandates that DNA Model Management (representing Ratajkowski), IMG Models (representing Hadid) and Kendall Jenner’s company Jenner Inc. must reveal how much money they received for their participation in the failed festival’s social media and advertising campaigns. Jerry Media, the agency that promoted the campaigns, is also subject to a subpoena.

In early 2017, social media influencers sparked public interest in the Fyre Festival with their posts of solid orange square tiles and a video announcement showcasing well-known models partying on yachts in the crystal blue water of a private island in the Bahamas. The festival was promoted as an exclusive experience with ticket prices costing thousands of dollars. Festival-goers were expecting private beachside villas, top quality food and performances from Major Lazer, Blink 182 and many more famous artists. Attendees were enraged when they arrived in the Bahamas to find the Fyre Festival was not the glamorous getaway of yachts and cocktails they had been promised. Organizers had not only failed to follow throw on the experience they advertised, but they barely had enough basic provisions for concertgoers, including even basic shelter accommodations.

Courtesy: People


Fyre Festival LLC filed for bankruptcy in July 2017. Billy McFarland, the founder of the festival, did not keep financial records and defrauded investors and ticket vendors, costing them around $26 million in losses. Gregory Messer, the trustee overseeing the bankruptcy of Fyre Media, requested the subpoenas of models and influencers to figure out exactly where this money went. 

According to Billboard, IMG received $1.2 million between November 2016 and February 2017,  DNA received $299,000 from McFarland in March 2017 and Jerry Media received payment of $90,000 in March 2017, which the media group has disputed.  The Daily Mail reported Kendall Jenner was allegedly paid $250,000 for a since-deleted Instagram post about members of Kanye West's G.O.O.D Music family that were to perform at Fyre.

“The Trustee believes that these transfers were made from funds that belong to the Debtor in connection with the Fyre Festival,” according to People. The $26 million McFarland lost came from the investors in the festival. Billy McFarland is now serving six years in federal prison after pleading guilty to multiple counts of fraud that led to the disastrous festival. 

Two different documentaries about the events of the Fyre Festival, Hulu’s Fyre Fraud and Netflix’s Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened, have rekindled public interest in what took place, influencing viewers to see the Fyre scam in a new light.  Not only were the festival attendees wronged from the disastrous event, but the staff that worked hard to set up, construct, cater and provide hospitality never fully received payment for their efforts. Over $140,000 has been raised through fundraising campaigns for the staff members who fell victim to Fyre Festival.

IMG, DNA Models and Jenner Inc. have yet to comment on the subpoenas.