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Fyre Fraud (Hulu)

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Fyre Fraud is an American documentary film directed by Jenner Furst and Julia Willoughby Nason that premiered on January 14, 2019, on Hulu.

Fyre Fraud is described as a "true-crime comedy bolstered by a cast of whistleblowers, victims, and insiders going beyond the spectacle to uncover the power of FOMO and an ecosystem of enablers, driven by profit and a lack of accountability in the digital age."

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How does this asshole have any money left? Because all I could focus on during his interview were his boots which, conservatively speaking, probably cost at least $1,000. And were brand new. And how morally bankrupt is that girlfriend of his? Like that's the dude you're willing to hitch your wagon to? Really? 

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5 hours ago, Giant Misfit said:

How does this asshole have any money left? Because all I could focus on during his interview were his boots which, conservatively speaking, probably cost at least $1,000. And were brand new.

Well he got $250k for that interview and probably knew to get it in advance!

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37 minutes ago, biakbiak said:

Well he got $250k for that interview and probably knew to get it in advance!

Wow, the balls on this guy. 

Serious question though.  I keep falling asleep, does this documentary explain exactly where all the money went?

He raised investor money from nitwits, he clearly scammed the dummies who paid for tickets and put money on their wristbands to pay for stuff.

There is no way in the world those leftover FEMA tents , soggy mattresses and sorry cheese sandwiches cost millions of dollars. 

Did everyone really get all their money back?  Did he use all the money to pay Instagram models and Bella Hadid?  Was it a straight up scam where he used the money for his rent?  Is it still buried on Pablo escobars island?

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Is this the same one that I partially watched (had on in the background), on netflix the other night? He reminded me of a guy my mother was engaged to when I was a kid, who was a total sociopath. A manipulative piece of shit, who somehow had a lot of people fooled.

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6 hours ago, Anela said:

Is this the same one that I partially watched (had on in the background), on netflix the other night?

Nah, there are two docs. One is on Netflix, this one is on Hulu.

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He got $250,000 and didn't honestly answer a single question.  I would have demanded a refund of his fee the second we wrapped shooting this shitshow.

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2 hours ago, Cabarb said:

He got $250,000 and didn't honestly answer a single question.  I would have demanded a refund of his fee the second we wrapped shooting this shitshow.

LOL, I was watching an interview with the filmmaker for the Netflix documentary and apparently Billy "told" him that Hulu offered 250k.  And he asked for the same amount....the NF director said no.

.....then Billy asked for 125k....and the NF director said no.

.....then Billy asked for 100k....and the NF director said no.

I doubt this fool was paid 250k by anyone.  I still think it was a bad idea to pay him any amount of money, but I'm just amused that he just can't help himself from being a scam artist

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On 1/28/2019 at 10:42 AM, RealReality10 said:

but I'm just amused that he just can't help himself from being a scam artist

The fact that he started another scam while grappling with the legal issues from the festival disaster really says something.

I realize that this is an unpopular opinion, but I feel sorry for the attendees as well. No matter what, you don't deserve to pay thousands for a luxury villa and get a tent instead. And you don't deserve to be put in an unsafe situation. From the description of everything, it's a miracle no one was home hurt or became ill.

I can't fathom what McFarland was thinking. Was it intended to be a scam from the get-go or did he genuinely think he could legitimately pull the whole thing off?

Edited by Camille
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Said this on the other thread, so forgive the repeat...

I think Billy has lived in bullshit world for so long that he just thought it would happen if he bullied people enough and/or blinded them with bullshit.

They were liable to the investors if they canceled so the only thread of hope was getting people wasted enough to think it was a cool experience, a la Woodstock, so that they didn’t care. That didn’t happen.

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7 hours ago, DangerousMinds said:

Woodstock actually had many great bands though.

And Fyre couldn't even keep Blink 182 LOL

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On 1/23/2019 at 12:02 AM, RealReality10 said:

Wow, the balls on this guy. 

Serious question though.  I keep falling asleep, does this documentary explain exactly where all the money went?

He raised investor money from nitwits, he clearly scammed the dummies who paid for tickets and put money on their wristbands to pay for stuff.

There is no way in the world those leftover FEMA tents , soggy mattresses and sorry cheese sandwiches cost millions of dollars. 

Did everyone really get all their money back?  Did he use all the money to pay Instagram models and Bella Hadid?  Was it a straight up scam where he used the money for his rent?  Is it still buried on Pablo escobars island?

He paid appearance fees for the models, but after that it was basically a Ponzi scheme. Folks who were in early and who complained (vendors, service providers, the Bahamian government, etc.) got paid off first in small dribs and drabs. The balance went to paying for fancy penhouses, JetSkis, etc.

 

On 2/3/2019 at 11:31 AM, Oldernowiser said:

Said this on the other thread, so forgive the repeat...

I think Billy has lived in bullshit world for so long that he just thought it would happen if he bullied people enough and/or blinded them with bullshit.

They were liable to the investors if they canceled so the only thread of hope was getting people wasted enough to think it was a cool experience, a la Woodstock, so that they didn’t care. That didn’t happen.

When they were reading that letter from his mom, I said to my husband "This kid has been lying to folks since he was a small child, and his mother with all of her bullshit has enabled him". Trust and believe if he ever had ANY consequences for his lies, none of this would have happened.

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21 hours ago, DangerousMinds said:

Woodstock actually had many great bands though.

That's the thing though, people went to Woodstock for the music.  It just then happened to become an amazing, cultural experience, as I understand it.  It happened organically, borne from the music.

This was so bass ackwards in that they were desperately trying to create some "experience" and then kinda threw in some music.  But this started out with instragram models, swimming pigs and Pablo Escobars island....not the music.

And, even the bands were so...cliche, blink 182, major Lazer, migos?  I don't know, the whole thing, even if it had come off seemed so tryhard and cliche.

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I've now seen both docs several times (having been perversely fascinated by the whole saga). I saw somewhere that the Hulu film was originally intended as a 4 part series, and they truncated it to feature length in order to get it out before Netflix's dropped. If true, it explains why it seemed to me to be a bit rushed and disjointed. It has some great moments though.

Things I particularly liked:

  • The more detailed insight into McFarland's previous scammy enterprise ("Magnum Penises"), and I enjoyed Emily Boehm's interviews about what sounds like a chaotic and tiresome working environment particularly. The revelation about the wealthy investor who turned out to be a shonk himself was new to me. The excerpts of the character reference from his mum said so much about the kind of environment he grew up in - always being told he was special and seemingly, rarely told "no";
  • The attempt to put this sorry saga into a wider societal context (although I think the results were mixed), particularly the emergence of "influencer" as a job and identity in itself. I mean, Kendall Jenner can command a quarter of a million USD for one IG post, and that's considered a bargain?? The fatuous, seemingly clueless Alyssa Lynch garners half a million followers for doing ... not very much? (Although I found her and Austin Mills rather insufferable, it was revealing how they could not readily articulate what their "brand" was, apart from some generic platitudes about "positivity" and "lifestyle" - which shows that the whole notion of a personal "brand" is arguably meaningless.) However in general this might have been more successful had the film been a miniseries.
  • Greater clarity in relation to the role of the FuckJerry douchebros in marketing this thing (Oren Aks was a really good get for the filmmakers and I thought he came across reasonably well);
  • Jia Tolentino. She is a terrific presence, probably the most compelling outsider talking-head on the programme.
  • Hearing from different people caught up in the whole clusterfuck was also interesting. I'm glad that like the Netflix one, they featured local voices - Ava Turnquest, the Bahamian journalist, made a really good point about the unsavoury colonial aspect of it, which of itself would merit an entire episode to explore. 

Things that irritated the bejesus out of me:

  • McFarland himself. Not the film's fault (although the decision to interview him for payment raises questions), but old mate is thoroughly unpleasant. How he managed to attract so many enablers staggers me. I really hope the money he was paid ends up with his victims - I assume there's an asset confiscation process that can restrain it? However the interviews illustrated just how much of a pathological liar and sleazebucket he is.
  • Robot narrator. What. Was. That?
  • The social media strategist with the vocal fry and description of influencers "taking one for the team" (er, not sure that phrase means quite what you think it means) rubbed me the wrong way, though she did have good points to make about ethical obligations of marketers confronted with this sort of situation, to be fair;
  • The constant, constant, cutaways to random clips of other shows (some of which the interviewees obligingly name-dropped), ads and so on to illustrate what they had just explained perfectly clearly. Yes, we got what "FOMO" means the first time. The guy from Mic was helpful enough to explain the acronym in his interview. We didn't need what appears to be some sort of ad telling us what it is again, complete with heavy-handed, "So you're like, a millennial?" Trust me, WE GET IT. Oh look, here's some more tweets spelling it out in case you missed it.
  • I was born in the '70s and was close to middle-aged when social media really took off - I don't do Twitter, I don't get the appeal of Instagram, so the whole influencer culture baffles me. However, the implicit snarking at "millennials" and their silly obsession with phones and WhatsChat and InstaFaceTweets or SnapTumblr, instead of Reading a Good Book, came across as a tendentious boomer or Gen X curmudgeon sighing about the "yoof of today" in a thinkpiece. It would pay to remember that previous generations whinged about "the yoof of today" when I was a kid in the '80s and young adult in the '90s. There's a letter from a 16th century middle-aged aristocrat (can't remember the name) banging on about how feckless, irresponsible and caught up with silly new trends  his kids and their friends are, rather than focusing on sensible intellectual pursuits and learning how to run the estate. If I recall correctly, Edward I of England cracked it over Piers Gaveston and his mates swanning off to go jousting (the music festival of the early 14th century?) instead of going to fight a war the older generation had started like they were supposed to. Socrates fucking whinged about "the yoof of today" although not in those precise words. It's not original or clever, and it does annoy me to see previous generations - including mine - sneering at younger people for adopting technology that the previous generations invented and marketed to them.
  • The minimal focus on how the locals were ripped off, and McFarland's complete absence of acknowledgment of what he did to them (like many criminals, he's more regretful about the effect on his family, friends and investors) - I thought that should have merited more examination. I mean, we had predominantly Black people working ludicrous hours on minimal sleep to try to bring together a vanity project for a gaggle of rich white guys, and most of them never got paid. In fairness to the filmmakers, this might have been a result of condensing it into a single film. I raised eyebrows at how the ones they did interview were captioned as "local fixers", which has a bit of a shonky connotation. 

I wasn't sure what to make of the inclusion of McFarland's girlfriend - was she intended as another character reference, an illustration of someone else he's conned (the intercutting of the interview with the psychologist about con artists suggested this), or what? Those segments sat oddly with the rest of the film. 

Overall I think it's worth a watch, but as a piece of filmmaking, Netflix's is much better at letting the interviews and first-hand footage speak for itself. Watching both is valuable - a series comprising the best elements of each would be even better, though I doubt that's a realistic hope.

Edited by Rachel72
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I am also weirdly fascinated by all of this, in part because in a previous career I was the client dealing with the “creatives” for ad shoots and was frequently chided for “bringing negative energy to the process” when I did silly things like insist we meet deadlines and not obliterate the budget. 

So the “we’re not a problem oriented company we’re a solution oriented company” horseshit hit home. Wankers.

Does anyone where I could pay for watching this version without having to sign up for Hulu? Seems like it’s quite painful to cancel Hulu so I would like to avoid that...

Edited by Oldernowiser
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4 hours ago, Oldernowiser said:

I am also weirdly fascinated by all of this, in part because in a previous career I was the client dealing with the “creatives” for ad shoots and was frequently chided for “bringing negative energy to the process” when I did silly things like insist we meet deadlines and not obliterate the budget. 

So the “we’re not a problem oriented company we’re a solution oriented company” horseshit hit home. Wankers.

Oh yes, me too! I was cringing in recognition. I work in the public service and on a regular basis we keep getting these "we're solution oriented" tossers waltzing in and imposing policies and restructures with zero understanding of the work we actually do, raking in ridiculous salaries then taking off to lucrative positions in private companies or as "consultants". We had this absolute knob in charge of facilities (nicknamed "futilities" during his tenure) who constantly dismissed any criticism with, "I don't want to hear problems, let's talk solution." He gave himself a nickname, which sums it all up really. Now we have another complete douchebro in an executive management position who has a fancy title but what he actually does isn't overly clear, who uses made up words like "bounce-back-ability" without irony and is cut from the same oleaginous cloth as McFarland and Margolin (he even looks a bit like them, which is unsettling).

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On 2/9/2019 at 4:51 AM, Rachel72 said:

I was born in the '70s and was close to middle-aged when social media really took off -

Interesting post but this, in particular, cracked me up.  It's interesting how what's considered "middle-aged" varies so much. 

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14 hours ago, Ohwell said:

Interesting post but this, in particular, cracked me up.  It's interesting how what's considered "middle-aged" varies so much. 

Heh, I probably should have said "closer to middle-aged than young". I had to concede that I definitely was no longer part of the "young" demographic when a woman at work was going on about "Insta stories" and I had to think about it before I got what she meant. When I was watching these docs and realised that - although I thought I'd kept reasonably au courant with musical trends - I had not heard of any of the acts listed apart from Blink 182, I thought, "Wow, maybe I really am officially An Old". 

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On 1/28/2019 at 9:42 AM, RealReality10 said:

LOL, I was watching an interview with the filmmaker for the Netflix documentary and apparently Billy "told" him that Hulu offered 250k.  And he asked for the same amount....the NF director said no.

.....then Billy asked for 125k....and the NF director said no.

.....then Billy asked for 100k....and the NF director said no.

I doubt this fool was paid 250k by anyone.  I still think it was a bad idea to pay him any amount of money, but I'm just amused that he just can't help himself from being a scam artist

I dont think he should have been given a dime. All he did was talk in circles and brag about being a life long scammer. That money would have been better served going to the workers he ripped off. But that is one good thing out of both docs: some money has been raised for the workers.

Either his girlfriend has major rose colored lenses or she's as morally bankrupt as he is in order to be with someone like him. Or both. Ive seen it happen.

5 bucks says he will try the same nonsense again when he gets out. He scams as easily as he breathes.

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Watching Billy during his interview was...maddening and illuminating. Sometimes at the same time.

His blinking seems to his “tell.” The rate goes up as the question gets harder.

Watching him it did occur to me...”Oh, look there’s Blink-182!!!” 

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On 1/31/2019 at 10:57 AM, Camille said:

I can't fathom what McFarland was thinking.

Sociopath. Just like Bernie Madoff, Elizabeth Holmes (Theranos), etc. 

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Jimmy Tatro from American Vandal NEEDS to play Billy McFarland in something. A sketch, a t.v. show, SOMETHING.

Edited by methodwriter85

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Anyone else want to slap the Social Media consultant woman (blonde ponytail) whining about how “brave” influencers are for “taking one for the team” in revealing their lives in social media?

Brave, my ass. They get paid insane amounts of money for pretty pictures of themselves. They could all disappear from the internet tomorrow and society wouldn’t miss a beat. If anything, the world would be a much better place.

Edited by Oldernowiser
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I finally got around to watching this. I already saw the Netflix one, & I think I liked that one better. Strangely, I thought this one focused too much on Billy, I don't care about the scams he ran when he was a kid, & watching him trying to say the correct things that would look good in court was painful. And what was with the computer voice anytime something was read?

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I was wondering about this...Billy does play all the angles, doesn’t he? Given his rich parents and their New York connections, I’m somewhat surprised he hasn’t been pardoned and given a Cabinet position by now!

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