The doomed Fyre Festival of 2017 resulted in founder Billy McFarland serving six years in jail, while his apparent partner in crime Ja Rule escaped blame with nothing more than a sad face emoji.
Now it looks like the courts agree with him, with Manhattan federal court Judge P. Kevin Castel ruling that the rapper, who stood accused with chief marketing officer Grant Margolin of promoting the festival while knowing it would implode, did not commit fraud.
Quoting Ja Rule’s tweets, the court reasoned that “the subjective qualifiers of ‘FOMO-inducing’ and ‘Coachella x 1000’ are too exaggerated, blustering, and boasting for a reasonable consumer to rely on.”
The plaintiffs didn’t offer enough specific evidence that Rule knew the Fyre Festival would be the opposite of “FOMO-inducing.”
“(Ja Rule) and Margolin were participants in organizing or promoting a large-scale event. 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,” Castel wrote.
In the resulting Netflix documentary Rule said himself that it was not fraud – “False advertising, maybe”.
He then tweeted following the media fallout; “I too was hustled, scammed, bamboozled, hood winked, lead astray!!!”
And in another twist for the saga, the island in the Bahamas that featured in the promotional video for the failed festival is up for sale for US$11.8 million.
The festival went on to be held on Great Exuma, 90 miles north of Saddleback Cay, after the organisers realised they couldn’t handle the logistics of setting up a luxury music festival on a completely undeveloped island inhabited only by wild pigs.