Gregory Messer, the trustee overseeing the $26 million bankruptcy of Billy McFarland’s Fyre Media, has announced a new round of settlements with artists who had been scheduled to perform at the disastrous 2017 festival, collecting $360,000 of the $2.8 million paid to artists including Major Lazer, Blink-182, Tyga and Pusha T.
Paradigm artists, including Major Lazer and Disclosure, received $1.5 million from Fyre Festival and returned $225,000. Creative Artist Agency received $585,000 from Fyre Festival, $500,000 of which was paid to Blink-182, and returned $135,000 total. Of the $730,000 paid to Nue Agency, $100,000 was returned, including $50,000 from Pusha T, $25,000 from Desiigner and $20,000 from Tyga. Desiigner and Tyga set up a monthly payment plan to return their share of the money by the end of January.
Messer also filed a lawsuit against Matte Finish, a New York-based production company that was paid $535,000 to shoot and edit footage that was used in a famous promotional video featuring Bella Hadid, Hailey Bieber, Chanel Iman and others to promote what was supposed to be a luxury festival in the Bahamas, promising two “transformative” weekends that “would exceed all expectations.”
While the models, along with social media influencers, were recruited by organizers to promote a festival with lavish accommodations on a private Bahamian island, the event turned out to be little more than a half-built site with almost no infrastructure. When guest arrived on the island they “were met with total disorganization and chaos” and learned that none of the musical acts promised had showed up, according to Messer’s court filing. Their promised luxury accommodations turned out to be FEMA disaster relief tents and their so-called gourmet food was a cheese sandwich in a Styrofoam container. Multiple lawsuits ensued, McFarland was later arrested and, after pleading guilty to multiple accounts of fraud, he was sent to federal prison and is serving out his sentence at the Federal Correctional Institution in Elkton, Ohio. He will be eligible for release on Aug 30, 2023.
According to Messer, the footage shot and edited by Matte Finish was used to produce Fyre, a documentary for Netflix “panning the Festival (and its former client) without seeking Fyre Festival’s or the Trustee’s permission and without sharing any of the proceeds with those victimized by McFarland,” he wrote. Messer plans to “recover any and all proceeds and profits derived” from the Netflix film, as well as the $535,000 allegedly paid to Matte by McFarland and companies he controlled.
Matte did not respond to requests for comment for this story. According to a 2019 email from the company’s Max Pollack to Billboard, McFarland allegedly still owed Matte $225,000.
Last month, Hadid, Bieber, Iman and nine other models represented by IMG returned $150,000 of the $1.7 million they were paid, while Kendall Jenner returned $90,000 of the $250,000 she was paid to promote the festival on social media.