Scammed Fyre Festival Caterer Raises Over $165K After Documentary Exposes Truth

Jessica Napoli

Netflix and Hulu dropped two Fyre Festival documentaries within a few days of each other, and the level of scamming and fraud surrounding the festival revealed in each film is not to be believed.

Fyre Festival was a musical festival that was supposed to take place in the Bahamas in spring 2017. It was founded by Fyre Media founder Billy McFarland and rapper Ja Rule and promised to be the experience of the lifetime — festival goers would party to great music, stay in luxurious villas, and hang out with "social media influencers" aka models and popular media personalities.

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The festival turned out to be sham. The people who paid thousands of dollars to attend the exclusive events were duped. There were problems with food, security, and lodging. After the truth was exposed, McFarland and others were brought up on fraud charges and he's currently serving six years in prison after pleading guilty in March 2018 to two counts of wire fraud, two counts of bank fraud, and making false statements to federal law enforcement.

In the Netflix doc, titled FYRE: The Greatest Party That Never Happened, one victim of the scandal who stole hearts with her heartbreaking story was Maryann Rolle, the owner of the Exuma Point Resort on Great Exuma, Bahamas, where the festival was supposed to take place.

She revealed she was never paid for work. "Back in April 2017 I pushed myself to the limit catering no less than a 1000 meals per day," she said on her GoFundMe page. She also admitted she had to use all the money from her own savings account to pay her workers.

Rolle said her credit was ruined, and she's embarrassed this happened to her. “I had 10 persons working directly with me just preparing food all day and night— 24 hours,” she said in doc. “I had to literally pay all those people.”

“I went through about $50,000 in my savings that I could have had for a rainy day, and they just wiped it out and never looked back,” Rolle tearfully added. “Personally, I don’t even like to talk about the Fyre Festival. Just take it away and let me start a new beginning, because they really, really, really hurt me. I am really hurt.”

Thankfully, there are still goodhearted people out in the world, who have helped her out financially. Since creating the GoFundMe page only a week ago, more than 5,000 people have donated and surpassed Rolle's goal of raising $123,000. At the time of this article's publication, she has $165,933 total.

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The top donator was Elliot Tebele, creator of Jerry Media (aka FuckJerry), who was hired to do Fyre's promotional material. He and his company donated $30,000. "Just gave every dollar my agency earned from the Fyre Festival back to the go fund me. Others should do the same," Tebele said via Twitter.

Rolle was hired after the festival co-founder, McFarland, allegedly fired restaurateur Stephen Starr and his catering company. Fyre promised its ticket holders that it would serve five-star food.

“We had a $6 million dollar contract with Starr catering to handle all the food service and we only had one million dollars allocated,” confessed Andy King, who was one of the event planners, in the Netflix doc. “Billy fired them over the phone and then he hung up the phone, I stood there and he said, ‘Can you salvage this?’ and I said, ‘Oh my gosh, I have two weeks to come up with food service for 6,000 kids.'”

The now-viral cheese sandwich photo is what was actually served after people were told they would eat sushi and pig roasts.

Ja Rule, also shared a message of regret for Rolle.

"My heart goes out to this lovely lady... MaryAnne Rolle we’ve never met but I’m devastated that something that was meant to be amazing, turn out to be such a disaster and hurt so many ppl... SORRY to anyone who has been negatively [sic] effected by the festival... Rule," the rapper wrote.

There was outrage on social media about Ja's level of participation in the fake festival and how/why he went along with McFarland, who (for now) is the only one serving time for the crimes committed.

FYRE: The Greatest Party That Never Happened, Available now, Netflix

Fyre Fraud, Available now, Netflix

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