Netflix's 'Fyre' Review: When Money, Privilege, And Ego Go Unchecked

netflix fyre documentary review

Fyre Festival Founder Billy McFarland is your quintessential fuckboy.

Netflix’s new documentary Fyre focuses all of its energy on villainizing this young “entrepreneur” and for good reason.

Billy is that privileged, white, egotistical guy that you love to hate. He is Brett Kavanaugh, Brock Turner, and Donald Trump, Jr. all rolled into one. And oh, he has just about the most punchable face you can imagine.

Fyre follows Billy and his band of followers as they attempt to create this fantasy music festival for rich kids, “influencers,” and wannabes who are all willing to cough up $2.5k to go party on a private island.

The only problem is that Billy has sold something he doesn’t actually have.

fyre festival documentary
Photo: Ja Rule and Billy McFarland, courtesy Netflix

The end result was, of course, a disaster that became a modern-day Lord of the Flies situation with spoiled rich kids battling it out for wet mattresses and hurricane relief tents (which is seemingly pretty funny for us commoners watching at home).

But perhaps the most appalling thing of all is just how many people (mostly men, as portrayed by the documentary) enable Billy.

There are pretty few who actually question Billy’s ability to pull off the festival, all of which are either fired or reprimanded. But most of the team are young 20-somethings who are happy just to be a part of “something great.”

netflix fyre festival doc
Photo: Tents at Fyre Festival, courtesy Netflix

There’s seemingly only one adult in the room, an event producer named Andy, who turns out to be the worst offender of them all. As the festival draws closer, Billy asks Andy to “take one for the team” and suck some guy’s dick to solve one of their many problems. And Andy says yes.

This is not a joke. Andy actually agrees to give a blow job to this guy at Billy’s request (in the end he doesn’t have to but still).

Despite all this, Andy is one of the kinder interviewees and actually calls Billy “a great entrepreneur” at one point.

One brief look at Billy’s history and it’s clear that Billy is not a “great entrepreneur.” In fact, his past (failed) businesses were essentially the same scam, but at a smaller scale: he offers luxury experiences to the rich, fails to deliver, and keeps their money.

netflix fyre festival billy mcfarland
Photo: A viral tweet of the meal served at Fyre Festival, courtesy Netflix

His last business venture was an elite credit card company that supposedly offered great, exclusive benefits, many of which never came to fruition. Before that, he started an online ad company named Spling, which yields suspiciously few search results online.

Billy is essentially Chuck Bass come to life, using his money, charm, and connections to live the high life without actually doing anything.

The sad thing is the media actually loves to promote kids like him. Prior to the Frye fiasco, websites heralded him with articles that celebrated “the kid who dropped out of college to start the coolest, most elite new credit card.” Just like any other privileged asshole, the world was his oyster.

Of course, I’m sure Billy has learned absolutely nothing from this. Billy will spend a few years in a minimum-security prison with his fellow white-collar criminals before getting out and starting his next grift (he actually started a new scam while out on bail selling fake tickets to events).

The ones who ended up losing the most were the local Bahamians who never got paid for their around-the-clock work. This includes local business owners who had to pay employees out of their own pocket and lost tens of thousands of dollars.

Billy also convinced young employees to put hundreds of thousands of debt onto their credit cards and then fired them without compensation or reimbursement.

The documentary wants to paint Billy as some sort of sociopath, and perhaps that’s true to some degree. But the real truth is that we all just don’t want to admit that there are hundreds of these jerks running around all over the place. Hell, just look in the oval office.

So if Netflix and all of Billy’s employees want to pretend like this was some freak thing, that’s their prerogative. But it’s time the rest of us recognize how willing we are to give guys like this a free pass just for being privileged, charismatic, and white.


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Lena Finkel
Lena Finkel is the Editor and Founder of Femestella. Prior to starting Femestella, she worked at People, InStyle, Tiger Beat, and Sesame Workshop (aka Sesame Street). She loves all things Real Housewives and Vanderpump Rules. When she's not busy binge-watching TV, you can find her hanging out with her tuxedo cat Tom.