You’ve probably heard of the Fyre Festival. The disastrous music festival jailed Billy McFarland and inspired documentaries on Netflix and Hulu. Despite serving four years in prison following this horrific scandal, McFarland still hasn’t apologized to his victims – and he has a rather disappointing statement.
Billy McFarland’s role in the Fyre Festival disaster
McFarland organized the Fyre Festival, a music festival to be held in 2017 on the Bahamian island of Great Exuma. The event was promoted on social media by big names like Kendall Jenner and Bella Hadid. Thousands of mostly young people bought high-priced event tickets and flights to witness the much-anticipated event.
However, as soon as the participants arrived, problems arose. Instead of the luxury villas, gourmet meals, and high-end experiences ticket holders were promised, they got FEMA refugee tents and cheese sandwiches.
Fyre Festival was quickly canceled and attendees were desperate for a way back home. Lawsuits followed, and McFarland pleaded guilty to two counts of spousal fraud: one for defrauding investors and ticket holders, and another for defrauding a ticket seller while he was on bail. McFarland received a six-year sentence.
Billy McFarland has been placed in solitary confinement twice while in prison
McFarland served four years of his sentence before being released on house arrest for six months. However, his time in prison was not always smooth.
The scammer spent three months in solitary confinement after guards found an unauthorized USB drive in his possession. The drive was discovered where McFarland kept notes for a possible book about his experiences.
A year later, he returned to solitary confinement after participating in Dumpster Fyre, a podcast about the failed music festival.
Billy McFarland has not apologized to his victims
McFarland was released from prison in 2022 and spent six months under house arrest in a transitional home. He admits he was somewhat to blame, blaming his “immaturity” and pride.
“I deserved my punishment,” he told the New York Times. “I let a lot of people down” However, he never apologized to any of his victims. When asked if he’d made any attempts to apologize, McFarland replied, “No. What would you tell them if you were me?”
The 30-year-old also refuses to take responsibility for the funds lost to local Bahamian business owners who have poured money into preparing for the festival. McFarland claimed these alleged losses were overestimated by the media. While one restaurant owner said McFarland owed her $134,000, others said they were repaid.
“I was treated well. Probably a week that I didn’t get paid for,” Ozzy Rolle, one of McFarland’s workers, told the NY Times. He even said the disastrous festival was good for the region’s tourism industry: “So many people came after reading what happened.”
What is Billy McFarland doing today?
While in prison, McFarland started a nonprofit organization called Project 315, which raised money to help pay for phone calls between inmates and their families. He uses the money he has raised. However, Sen. Amy Klobuchar and other Democratic senators were already working on a project to raise money for the cause.
McFarland owes his victims over $25 million and all wages he earns are used to pay them back. He’s not sure what to do next, but thinks he’ll do something “tech-based.”
“The good thing about technology is that people are so forward-thinking and more willing to take risks,” McFarland said. “If I worked in finance I think it would be harder to come back. Tech is more open. And the way I failed is totally wrong, but in a way, failure in entrepreneurship is okay.”
RELATED: “Inventing Anna”: Where’s Anna Sorokin (aka Delvey) Today?
https://www.cheatsheet.com/entertainment/fyre-festival-fraudster-billy-mcfarland-not-apologized-victims-concludes-prison-sentence.html/ Fyre Festival con artist Billy McFarland has still not apologized to his victims as he completes his prison sentence