The Fyre Festival documentary is one of those things that can make you laugh and wince at the same time, and if you haven’t yet watched it, you should probably get stuck in.
If you have watched it, then you’ll be pleased to know that one of the few people in the doccie who comes out with their dignity intact has had a change of fortune.
That person is certainly not Billy McFarland, and now there is a renewed interest in what his life was like before he decided to con Instagram-addicted Millennials out of their (parents’) hard-earned money.
His VIP card company, Magnises, gets some dissection in the doccie, but Insider has a few more details to share.
First up is Billy’s rather odd search for a new business HQ, after Magnises was kicked out of its Greenwich Village townhouse after parties allegedly caused tens of thousands of dollars in damages:
[Estate agent Jenny] Bapst started showing McFarland different townhouses, but felt something seemed off. McFarland never explained how Magnises planned to run an essentially commercial business in a residential property, which got the company in trouble in its previous location. And while McFarland wanted to upgrade to a nicer townhouse from the company’s previous one, which cost $13,750 a month, Bapst got mixed messages over whether they could afford it.
“I was showing him a beautiful, very luxurious townhouse in Chelsea,” Bapst told INSIDER. “He loved that place. It was $30,000 a month, and Billy was like ‘We can do it, we can do it.’ And the COO was like, ‘Billy, this is not in the budget. We don’t have that kind of money.'”
McFarland insisted that he get the place. Bapst confronted him in the bathroom, trying to figure out if they could afford it or of she was just wasting her time.
“That’s when he told me, literally, ‘Jenny, do you think I would get laid more by models if we get this space?'” Bapst said.
If ever you wanted insight into how this guy’s brain works, there you have it.
McFarland’s time at Magnises, which folded in 2017, was a pretty decent foreshadowing of how the Fyre Festival would pan out, and many of those who worked with him saw the warning signs early on.
He once lied about his identity at a business event for members of the hospitality industry to try and glean details about how a rival operated, and was caught out, with a rival labelling him a “very weird dude”.
Not a crime, but not a great look, either.
Back to estate agent Bapst, who also dealt with McFarland when she interviewed to work with Magnises:
In her time with McFarland, Bapst observed that he wanted to spend more time having lavish lunches and bragging about dating models than building a business.
“It was like he was a child trying to live this lifestyle that he didn’t even belong to,” she said. “He’s like that kid that’s disrespectful to the waiter because he pays for it. He’s not humble.”
A timely reminder that people who are rude to waitstaff are usually inherently bad people, and should be avoided and shunned at every opportunity.
We see you.
At least there’s a happy ending to this all:
By the time Fyre Festival came around, Magnises was defunct. McFarland is currently serving a six-year prison term for committing mail and wire fraud for his work on the festival.
You can only bullshit for so long.
Also, if you’re keen for more dirt on the Fyre Festival itself, this is an excellent account.
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