Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 19 October 2019

Models Kendall Jenner and Emily Ratajkowski hit with lawsuits for promoting doomed Fyre Festival

The pair received more than $500,000 between them for advertising the ill-fated event on social media, according to court documents

Kendall Jenner was paid to promote Fyre Festival on Instagram. EPA
Kendall Jenner was paid to promote Fyre Festival on Instagram. EPA

It disappointed fans back in 2017 with a lack of luxury, A-list names and promised attractions, but the ill-fated Fyre Festival has certainly not been forgotten.

And now, some celebrities tied up in the failed event have been named in a new lawsuit, as the trustee overseeing the bankruptcy of organisers Fyre Media attempts to recover money spent on the festival's promotion.

Models Emily Ratajkowski and Kendall Jenner are being sued by Gregory Messer, according to documents filed last week in New York's US Bankruptcy Court, for their part in the festival's social media campaign.

Messer alleges that Jenner, a sister of Kim Kardashian West, received $275,000 (Dh1 million) to promote Fyre Festival in a single, now-deleted Instagram post.

Court documents claim that the model did not disclose that the post was sponsored content, stating her "conduct demonstrates a clear lack of good faith".

Jenner also insinuated in the post's caption that brother-in-law Kanye West would perform at the event, referencing her "Good Music Family". The Jesus Walks singer is the founder of the Good Music label.

Messer claims the model "intentionally led certain members of the public and ticket purchasers" to believe the musician would be at the festival.

The lawsuit filed against Ratajkowski’s agency, DNA Model Management, alleges the model did not declare her post about Fyre as paid-for content either, despite receiving $299,000.

Bands and musicians were also named in complaints, as Messer targeted performers, talent agencies and vendors who played a role in marketing the disastrous event.

According to court documents, International Creative Management was paid $350,000 for Migos, Lil Yachty and Rae Sremmurd to perform; Creative Artists Agency was paid $500,000 for Blink-182; and Nue Agency was paid $730,000 for Pusha T, Desiigner and Tyga.

Fyre Festival, which was held in the Bahamas and billed as an all-star occasion, was the subject of a Netflix documentary earlier this year.

Organised by founder Billy McFarland and musician Ja Rule, the two-weekend event disappointed ticket holders, who arrived at a tropical island only to find relief-camp style tents and rudimentary sandwiches rather than the promised lavish experience.

The festival, which has been billed as "the cultural experience of the decade", subsequently refunded all tickets. The new lawsuits are part of an ongoing investigation into what happened to the $26m invested in the failed event.

McFarland is currently serving a six-year jail sentence for numerous counts of fraud, including for his part in Fyre.

Updated: September 3, 2019 02:16 PM

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