Netflix Reaches Settlement on Fyre Fest Documentary Lawsuit

Streaming company had been sued over usage of footage in Chris Smith’s “Fyre”

A copyright lawsuit against Netflix over footage used in its Fyre Festival documentary was dropped on Tuesday after the streaming company reached an undisclosed settlement with the plaintiff, according to court documents obtained by TheWrap.

The lawsuit was filed by Clarissa Cardenas, an attendee at the ill-fated 2017 Caribbean music festival who claimed that footage she took at the festival was used in Chris Smith’s documentary “Fyre” without her permission. Filed in March, the suit requested $150,000 in damages. Legal reps for Cardenas and Netflix did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s requests for comment.

The much-publicized festival, which promised luxurious accommodations and musical performances from top pop stars, captured the world’s attention after attendees flooded social media with pictures of poorly constructed tents and widespread chaos at the Bahamas island they had spent thousands to fly to. Billy McFarland, the event’s main organizer, pled guilty to fraud charges and was sentenced to six years in prison and ordered to forfeit $26 million.

Meanwhile, Netflix and rival streaming platform Hulu released documentaries exploring how the Fyre Festival fell apart within days of each other in January. Netflix beat out Hulu on the awards front as “Fyre” became the only one of the two docs to be nominated for an Emmy this week in the Outstanding Documentary category.

Back on the legal front, rapper Ja Rule, one of the other main Fyre promoters, dodged some legal trouble of his own last week after a federal judge dismissed a lawsuit filed by Fyre attendees against him and the festival’s marketing head Grant Margolin. The lawsuit says that Ja Rule and Margolin made false claims on social media about the festival, but the judge ruled there was not sufficient evidence to prove that the two men knew that the event would turn out the way it did.

“There is no assertion that the Festival when first conceived or introduced to the public was intended not to go forward or that defendants intended not to perform by organizing the advertised amenities and accommodation,” read the judge’s ruling.

“The Court agrees that the subjective qualifiers of ‘FOMO-inducing’ and ‘Coachella x1000’ are too ‘exaggerated, blustering, and boasting’ for a reasonable consumer to rely on.”

Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.