Ja Rule is asking a New York court to remove any potential liability he might have in relation to the spectacular collapse of the 2017 Fyre Festival, the now infamous debacle in the Bahamas. Ja Rule, whose real name is Jeffrey Atkins, says his “non-operational” role in promoting the festival shouldn’t leave him on the hook for any of the several lawsuits that have arisen out of its implosion.
According to Digital Music News, Atkins filed a motion to dismiss a $100 million class-action lawsuit filed earlier this month naming him as a defendant for his role in promoting the festival, which carried ticket prices ranging from $450 to $100,000 and promised luxurious accommodations, meals, and top-flight performers. Instead, festival-goers found a ragtag tent encampment with minimal food or medical care before the festival was canceled on its first day.
Billy McFarland, who headed the company behind the festival, pleaded guilty to two counts of wire fraud related to promises he made to investors prior to the debacle. As part of his plea, he promised to pay back millions to
Atkins has consistently distanced himself from the festival from the moment it began to fell apart, after having served as a primary celebrity endorser of the event during its lead-up. On social media, the rapper characterized the event as “set to be the biggest FOMO (fear of missing out)-inducing event of 2017. Think Coachella x 1,000 and you’re not even close.” But his motion claims that such posts carried no legal responsibility on his part, even though he reportedly deleted several of them in the immediate aftermath of the event.
“Tellingly, not a single plaintiff claims to have seen, have been aware of, or have been influenced by Atkins’ statements. You cannot rely on what you do not know and therefore, even if each of the [complaint’s] alleged facts are true, plaintiffs could not have reasonably relied on the statements because they were unaware of them,” his filing states.
Instead, the blame lies squarely on McFarland and Fyre Media, the company behind the event. Atkins and his representatives argue that the only reason he, despite his lack of an “executive C-level title” role with the company are being sued is that he is the only “solvent defendant” to pursue.
The entire filing is available below:
[scribd id=1 key=key-NgFVtWKJrkf2F5DHUQvU mode=scroll]