Keeping Track of All the Fyre Festival Lawsuits

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Trademarks, copyrights, and advertising in general: they’re extremely well protected by law, which always gives rise to many lawsuits regarding fraud, IP, copyright infringement, and other cases involving social media influence. This is why the Fyre Festival now sits at the forefront of what’s trending in the legal industry. Social media certainly plays a role in policy, procedure and rules and regulation regarding companies as well as brands.

If you’ve seen either of the Fyre Festival documentaries on Netflix and Hulu, you know that social media marketing played a large role in drumming up hype for the doomed festival. You also know that these social posts promised a luxurious experience with lavish amenities that never existed.

The Fyre Festival Is Facing Heat—Due to Lawsuits

And quite a few of them. This is largely regarding social media and influencers utilizing the space within the World Wide Web to actually market the festival in a viral way. However, there are now issues with that, painting a negative picture on what influencer marketing can turn into: fraud, breaches of covenant of good faith, and other problems.

In particular, a certain lawsuit in California was filed against festival founders Billy McFarland and Ja Rule as a result of the festival at a cost of $100M due to fraud and breach of contract—all because of negligent misrepresentation involving a “cheese sandwich” meme and a particular airport incident resulting from a live influencer campaign. It was stated, in fact, that the Fyre Festival completed cease-and-desist letters to all whistleblowers regarding the issues.

A second class action lawsuit involved event promoters labeled as Does 1-100 deceiving patrons to attend the festival through payment of more than 400 social media personalities and celebrities—in a nutshell, influencer marketing to a tee, but done in a way that was unethical. This was because the Fyre Festival had no knowledge of the campaigns, nor did they endorse those campaigns at all: a potential case of infringement and misrepresentation.

A third lawsuit was also filed, adding more fuel to an already booming legal fire as not only false representations were claimed, but guests cried foul and blowing whistles at the fact that hardly anything rang true in advertisements. Upon arriving at the island of Great Exuma, guests were horrified to discover that the island lacked plenty of the standard amenities you would expect, such as showers and bathrooms.

Fyre faced two more lawsuits, in which the claimant demanded up to $250K in damages for breaches of contract, fraud and negligence. The situation worsened due to failure to purchase cancellation insurance and failure to secure a contract providing medical evacuation by helicopter or plane in the event of an emergency. These lawsuits all resulted from social media influence. Even more lawsuits followed, filed everywhere from New York to Florida involving cease and desist of social media posts involving fraud, negligence and other breaches of contract that would normally not even be viewed as such because they’re specifically on social media. Yet now it’s very much an issue given the gravity of the situation.

 Advertising Ethics and the Fyre Festival

At the very least, the festival and other authorities related to it are making the proper choices to try and regulate the issues. It could elevate and evolve the landscape with respect to social media and influencer marketing as a whole.

Have you witnessed fraud or false advertising? Is someone accusing you of unethical business behavior? Make sure you have a qualified business lawyer on your side, no matter which side you’re on.

Author: Andrew

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