While Fyre Festival co-founder Billy McFarland is serving a six-year prison sentence, his partner Ja Rule had his name officially cleared from the legal disaster.
Fyre Fest, the 2017 failed-festival-turned-phenomenon, has been outlined in two documentaries and is now globally dubbed as the biggest scam of the last decade. The event, which was billed as a luxurious getaway in the Bahamas, was created by rapper Ja Rule and entrepreneur McFarland. However, after selling thousands of high-end tickets and positively promoting the festival, ticketholders were baffled to find nothing they expected. Festivalgoers were promised expensive villas, top chef cuisine, and sets from acts like Blink-182 and Migos – but were met with hurricane tents, boxed dinners, and no music.
McFarland was sentenced to six years in prison in late 2018 after he pleaded guilty to multiple counts of fraud. He has faced a slew of charges since the festival failed, including lawsuits against ticketholders where he was forced to shell out millions of dollars. However, along the way, Ja Rule asked a court to dismiss him from lawsuits naming him responsible for the festival, saying that he held a “non-operational” role in the event.
In July, Ja Rule was initially cleared from the suit, but McFarland’s lawyers argued that the rapper had equal responsibility in the festival’s demise. According to AllHipHop, a judge officially denied the attempt to bring back Ja Rule into the mix, noting that he was unaware of the inner-circle issues that led the festival’s plummet to failure, which includes McFarland’s financials.
While Ja Rule is off the hook, ticketholders are still waiting to be repaid for the festival. In order to pay off McFarland’s debts, Fyre Fest merchandise has been auctioned via the United States Marshals Service of Manhattan. Two victims were awarded $5 million, but more than a dozen lawsuits are still pending around the country. McFarland owes $24 million after his SEC settlement and has been forced to pay $3 million to an investor who sponsored the event.
In the meantime, Ja Rule is reportedly planning to host another Fyre Fest – one much more organized – in the near future. Other festivals are advising against this however, with KAABOO Cayman organizer Jason Felts bluntly telling Too Fab that Ja Rule should “stick to rapping.”