Fyre Festival was a disaster, that much we know. But why did so many influencers jump on board to promote the festival in the first place? Bella Hadid and Kendall Jenner were some of the big-name influencers tacked to the festival, but following the disaster that actually ensued and the various documentaries released about the festival that turned out to be a scam, these influencers haven't said much about their paid promotion of the event, until now. Kendall Jenner's comments about Fyre Fest (briefly) explain why she agreed to a paid partnership with the event.
Fyre Festival was supposed to be a luxury music festival held in the Bahamas in April and May of 2017. It famously did not go as planned, which is an understatement, because it was a straight-up disaster. Social media posts from those attending the festival (which was canceled shortly after attendees began arriving) showed that the only food they were provided was bread and cheese in styrofoam containers, and their pricey lodgings were actually just dismantled tents. Netflix and Hulu both released documentaries about the disaster of a festival, which was co-created by Billy McFarland in partnership with Ja Rule.
McFarland ended up pleading guilty to wire fraud and falsifying documents that got him $26 million from investors. In Oct. 2018, McFarland was sentenced to six years in federal prison. The entire experience resulted in eight different lawsuits being filed, some as big as $100 million.
Now, Kendall Jenner has commented on her involvement in the early stages of the festival.
Jenner first announced her involvement with Fyre Festival in a now-deleted Instagram post in January 2017. She revealed that Tyga and Desiigner (who are both signed on Kanye West's G.O.O.D. Music label) were brought on as headliners for the festival (which, by the way, had tickets as expensive as $250,000).
"So hyped to announce my G.O.O.D. Music Family as the first headliners," Jenner's post said. Her post also included a VIP code her fans could use when purchasing tickets.
In an interview with The New York Times published on Saturday, March 30, Jenner briefly explained why she got involved with Fyre Festival in the first place.
“You get reached out to by people to, whether it be to promote or help or whatever, and you never know how these things are going to turn out, sometimes it’s a risk,” she said. “I definitely do as much research as I can, but sometimes there isn’t much research you can do because it’s a starting brand and you kind of have to have faith in it and hope it will work out the way people say it will.”
She capped her comments off by saying, “You never really know what’s going to happen."
That just goes to show that just because an offer for a sponsored post might seem legit, and just because the paycheck might be huge, doesn't mean it's a good idea to tack your name onto it.
Kim Kardashian said in this same New York Times interview that the family does so many paid Instagram posts because, frankly, they're easy money.
“If there is work that is really easy that doesn’t take away from our kids, that’s like a huge priority, if someone was faced with the same job opportunities, I think they would maybe consider,” she said. “You’re going to get backlash for almost everything so as long as you like it or believe in it or it’s worth it financially, whatever your decision may be, as long as you’re OK with that.”
Sure, paid Instagram posts are easy work, but the family would probably face less backlash if they wouldn't promote problematic products like the Fyre Festival ended up being, and like the "meal replacement" shakes Flat Tummy Co. pays them all to promote. The Kardashians have become experts at making money off of Instagram, but perhaps it's time for them to evolve their vetting processes before signing on with these brands.