In a conference call Friday, Billy McFarland, the 25-year-old founder of the now-infamous festival, told his workers that their checks were not in the mail, according to an audio of the call obtained by Vice News.
“After conferring with our counsel and all financial people, unfortunately we are not able to proceed with payroll,” McFarland said.
Rapper Ja Rule, co-founder of the event, was also on the call. But only to let his staff know he’ll be listening on mute.
“I’m on the phone but I can barely hear you all because of this f–king hum,” he said.
McFarland was careful not to tell his employees they were being fired or forcibly removed from their jobs, a prerequisite for unemployment benefits in most states. Instead, McFarland allowed his staff to stay on without pay and work to grow the business so that they could get paid down the road.
“We’re not firing anybody, we’re just letting you know there will be no payroll in the short term, so there’s no more official employment,” he said.
As TheWrap previously reported, The festival garnered unsavory headlines last month after thousands of ticket holders arrived in the Bahamas for the luxury vacation only to find wet mattresses, portapotties and and FEMA disaster relief tents.
Ja Rule and McFarland, a tech entrepreneur, promoted the event with the help of by celebrities like Kendall Jenner and Emily Ratajkowski, billing the festival as a posh weekend getaway in the Caribbean. Tickets went for as much as $12,000. However, once ticket-holders arrived on the private island, what greeted them was less than luxurious.
Fyre Media has since been hit with a string of lawsuits, including one class-action seeking $100 million in damages. On Thursday, an investor, EHL Funding, filed a suit alleging the company had defaulted on a $3 million loan. Jenner, Bella Hadid, and Hailey Baldwin, who promoted the event without disclosing they were being paid, are mentioned in separate suits.
Check out the audio of the conference call here, courtesy of Vice.