Inside Hulu's decision to surprise-drop Fyre Festival doc days before Netflix's Fyre
Hulu surprised fans (and, presumably, Netflix) on Monday by dropping its Fyre Festival documentary just four days before Netflix’s announced debut of a doc on the same subject — and EW has inside info on the release plan for Fyre Fraud.
According to a source, it was felt that Fyre Fraud provides context that may color viewers’ feelings about Netflix’s Fyre.
In addition to featuring an exclusive interview with Billy McFarland, the entrepreneur who co-founded the failed Bahamas-based music event with rapper Ja Rule and was later sentenced to six years in jail for defrauding investors, Fyre Fraud includes interviews with people who used to work with Elliot Tebele, the founder of F‑‑‑Jerry who handled promoting the festival and is an executive producer of the Netflix doc.
In Fyre Fraud, Tebele’s former employees claim that Tebele had them go to great lengths to cover up the early signs that things were going wrong with the planning of the 2017 festival.
The source tells EW that the hope is Hulu’s documentary will provide enlightening context ahead of Tebele’s Netflix documentary.
In response, the filmmakers behind Netflix’s Fyre provided EW with this statement: “We were happy to work with Jerry Media and a number of others on the film. At no time did they, or any others we worked with, request favorable coverage in our film, which would be against our ethics. We stand behind our film, believe it is an unbiased and illuminating look at what happened, and look forward to sharing it with audiences around the world.”
It was previously reported that McFarland was set to appear in Fyre, but director Chris Smith recently told EW via an email provided through Netflix that “Billy wanted to get paid” for appearing in the project, and the filmmakers ultimately “didn’t feel comfortable with him benefiting after so many people were hurt as a consequence of his actions.”
Though McFarland’s Fyre Festival was initially touted as featuring luxury accommodations and catered meals, attendees — who paid between $1,500 and $12,000 for tickets, some of which promised VIP passes with yacht access — shared photos of cheese sandwiches and hurricane tents lining unkempt beaches upon their arrival. Subsequently, a $100 million class-action lawsuit was proposed by celebrity attorney Mark Geragos on behalf of his client Daniel Jung, who claimed the “festival’s lack of adequate food, water, shelter and medical care created a dangerous and panicked situation among attendees — suddenly finding themselves stranded on a remote island without basic provisions — that was closer to The Hunger Games or Lord of the Flies than Coachella.”
Hulu’s Fyre Fraud is now streaming. Netflix’s Fyre premieres Friday.