Remember Fyre Festival? Well, three years after the “luxury” musical festival was slated to take place on an idyllic island in the Bahamas, Kendall Jenner, one of the many big-name models that helped to promote the fraudulent fest, has agreed to settle the lawsuit that she was facing in connection with the company’s bankruptcy proceedings. The terms of the settlement will see the reality star-slash-supermodel pay back $90,000, after being sued in both in her personal and corporate capacities by a court-appointed bankruptcy trustee, who sought to claw back the $275,000 that she was paid by Fyre Media.
According to the complaint that Gregory Messer – the court-appointed liquidation trustee for Fyre Media, Inc. who has been investigating what happened to the more than $16 million that Fyre Fest co-creator Billy McFarland raised to stage the ill-fated music festival – filed in a New York federal bankruptcy court in August 2019, the Fyre Fest organizers “entered into an agreement with Jenner pursuant to which Jenner was required to make a single social media post promoting the Festival in exchange for $250,000.”
In January 2017, Jenner “successfully promoted” – by way of an Instagram post – “the fantasy that the Festival would be populated with models and beautiful people and that fans would be missing out if they were not there.” Messer asserts that Jenner’s post failed to include “any indication that Jenner was paid to promote the Festival pursuant to the guidelines of the Federal Trade Commission,” as TFL first pointed out in March 2017.
In addition to failing to include the legally-mandated disclosures, the complaint stated that “Jenner never informed the public that she either had no intention of attending the Festival, or that she ultimately determined not to attend the Festival.” Messer also asserted that “following the [January 2017] promotional post, Jenner received [an] additional $25,000,” which must also be returned, as “Jenner has retained the full value of the transfers and the funds received” from the fraudulent festival’s organizers.
Now, Jenner has agreed to pay back $90,000 “as full and final settlement and complete satisfaction of any claims that [Messer] has against [her],” essentially making the lawsuit and any future related claims by the trustee go away.
While the case against Jenner may be over (assuming the settlement terms are approved by the judge), it is one of roughly two dozen “fraudulent transfers and actual fraud” lawsuits that Messer filed in a New York bankruptcy court in August 2019, seeking judgments from the court to hold “each [defendant] jointly and severally liable for the return of any [Fyre Fest related payment] transfers,” plus any prejudgment interest and attorneys’ fees. At least one of those suits, the case filed against actress/model Emily Ratajkowski has also been resolved by way of a settlement. In the “Mediator’s Final Report,” which was filed with the court on May 19, Ratajkowski has also agreed to settle.
According to the lawsuit that Messer initiated against Ratajkowski and her agency DNA Model Management, he claimed that based on Fyre records, the model was paid a whopping $299,999.99 to promote the problematic festival by way of a single Instagram post. Despite the contract requiring Ratajkowski to “include all necessary disclosures in her social media posts made hereunder to comply with the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) Guides, which may include the hashtag: #spon or #ad,” Messer argued that no such disclosures were made (and Fyre Fest’s marketing team, Jerry Media, seemingly did not monitor and/or require any updates to the disclosure-less post, as required by the FTC).
And more than that, Messer argued that Ratajkowski failed to inform her “fans and followers that [she] ultimately decided not to attend the Festival because of problems with the Festival of which [she] and [her] agency was uniquely aware.” In her initial response to the lawsuit model denied that she “did not disclose to the public that she was paid or that such payment was a ‘Fraudulent Transfer,’” but did admit that her “Instagram post was removed from the platform and reposted on Ratajkowski’s Instagram account (@emrata) in compliance with FTC Regulations.”
The terms of Ratajkowski’s settlement agreement were not revealed in the mediator’s May 19 report.
Beyond the models, Messers has sought to regain the $500,000 paid to Blink 182 by way of its management company Creative Arts Agency and the $350,000 paid to “Lil Yachty, and/or Migos, and/or [Rae] Sremmurd,” among other funds paid to the likes of ASC Ticket Co., Flight Centre Travel Group, Constellation Culinary Group, and Swift Air, among others.
As the Wall Street Journal reported in connection with the failed fest, its “collapse has spawned numerous civil lawsuits and was chronicled in separate documentaries released last year by Hulu and Netflix.” Meanwhile, 28-year old McFarland is serving a six-year prison sentence after pleading guilty to fraud charges.
*The cases are Gregory M. Messer as Chapter 7 Trustee of the Estate of Fyre Festival LLC, v. Kendall Jenner, Inc. and Kendall Jenner, 1:17-11883-mg (Bankr. SDNY); and *The case is Gregory M. Messer v. DNA Model Management, LLC, EMRATA Inc., and Emily Ratajkowski, 1:19-ap-01344.