Fyre Festival staff who lost their life savings due to its fraudulent organisers have received tens of thousands of pounds via a GoFundMe page.
Earlier this week, a documentary telling the story of the doomed ‘luxury’ festival landed on Netflix. The in-depth film, FYRE, focuses on the event’s co-founder Billy McFarland – who in October was imprisoned for multiple counts of fraud.
During the film, Bahamian restaurant worker Maryann Rolle said that she lost $50,000 (£39,000) of her life savings – with her team working tirelessly to prepare 1,000 meals per day for festival staff. Rolle, who owns Exuma Point Bar and Grill, was left with an unpaid workforce after the festival collapsed in April 2017.
Now, just days after the documentary’s release, almost $85,000 (£66,000) has been donated through a GoFundMe page set up by Rolle and her husband Elvis. The target figure is set at $123,000 (£95,500).
Writing on the site, Rolle said: “As I make this plea it’s hard to believe and embarrassing to admit that I was not paid…I was left in a big hole! My life was changed forever, and my credit was ruined by Fyre Fest.
“My only resource today is to appeal for help.
“There is an old saying that goes ‘bad publicity is better than no publicity’ and I pray that whoever reads this plea is able to assist.”
Meanwhile, FYRE director Chris Smith has said that the documentary began as “an exploration into the story and then it just kept unfolding in a million different directions. At that point, there was no turning back.”
He added that he had secured interview slots with Billy McFarland on two occasions, but ultimately failed to get him to appear on camera.