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Fyre Festival: Kendall Jenner, Bella Hadid, Hailey Bieber and others face subpoenas over millions in payments

Pending summons come as part of a broader investigation into the whereabouts of the $26 million Billy McFarland spent on the failed 2017 event

Left to right: Bella Hadid, Kendall Jenner and Hailey Bieber. All three models will potentially receive subpoenas over money received for Fyre Festival. Getty Images
Left to right: Bella Hadid, Kendall Jenner and Hailey Bieber. All three models will potentially receive subpoenas over money received for Fyre Festival. Getty Images

Kendall Jenner, Bella Hadid, Hailey Bieber and Emily Ratajkowski are among those expected to face subpoenas over millions of dollars made in payments, as what happened to the $26 million invested in the failed 2017 Fyre Festival – the subject of a new Netflix documentary – is investigated by the bankruptcy court.

The trustee overseeing the bankruptcy of organisers Fyre Media has said convicted fraudster Billy McFarland paid $1.2 million (Dh4.4m) to the agency that represents models Hadid and Bieber, Billboard reports.

Two agencies – IMG Models and DNA Model Management – representing the models who helped to promote the "luxury" Bahamas festival might soon be forced to reveal details about those payments.

A screenshot of the Fyre Festival promotion. Youtube
A screenshot of the Fyre Festival promotion. Youtube

Jenner is also expected to face a subpoena, as the model and influencer is said to have received $250,000 (Dh920,000) in order to post on Instagram that some members of Kanye West's G.O.O.D Music entourage would be performing. She didn't make it clear whether or not this specific post was paid for, which then prompted the Federal Trade Commission to issue a warning, citing rules for disclosing sponsored social media posts.

The post has since been deleted.

These new potential summons are part of a broader effort to understand where the $11.3m (Dh41.5m), paid out by McFarland in the months leading up to the Bahamas-based event, went.

Overall, McFarland raised $26m (Dh95.5m) from investors.

Ja Rule (left) and Fyre Festival organiser Billy McFarland. Courtesy Netflix
Ja Rule (left) and Fyre Festival organiser Billy McFarland. Courtesy Netflix

On Friday the trustee, Gregory Messer, reportedly asked a judge for subpoenas for the models and social media influencers who helped promote the event, reports Billboard.

Models Hadid, Bieber and Ratajkowski were among those who appeared in the festival's promotional video, which spurred thousands of people on social media to buy tickets for the event, photos of which were meant to be envy-inducing in themselves.

Bella Hadid's post promoting Fyre Festival from 2017. Instagram / Bella Hadid
Bella Hadid's post promoting Fyre Festival from 2017. Instagram / Bella Hadid

However, due to monumental mistakes on the part of McFarland, the festival ended up being a complete failure, and the only image left lingering in our memories from those days is that of a soggy-looking cheese sandwich.

Subpoenas have already been approved for talent agencies, including Paradigm Talent Agency, for information on the $1.4m (Dh5.1m) spent on booking artists to play at the event. Among those advertised on the bill were Major Lazer and Blink-182.

McFarland is currently serving a six-year jail sentence for numerous counts of fraud, including for his part in Fyre. A brilliant new documentary on Netflix, Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened, also aims to shed light on the event, and its impact on the Bahamian people, including the restaurateur who spent about $50,000 of her savings paying staff, whose wages should have been covered by the festival organisers.

Updated: January 27, 2019 03:12 PM

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