Kendall Jenner, top models in hot water over Fyre Festival

By Megan Cerullo

/ MoneyWatch

Over $150K raised for Fyre Festival caterer

Celebrities and top models including Kendall Jenner, Bella Hadid, Emily Ratajkowski and the agencies that represent them can be subpoenaed for their participation in the doomed Fyre Festival, a federal judge has ruled.

The models and so-called social influencers promoted what was billed as a VIP music festival on an island in the Bahamas, helping to generate buzz and sell tickets to the 2018 event. It was cancelled at the last moment, stranding hundreds of people who had flown in for the concert.

The models and celebs played a prominent role in marketing Fyre Fest. Festival organizer BIlly McFarland and members of his team posted videos of them frolicking on yachts and sipping cocktails at the purported site of what was supposed to be an exclusive music festival.

But the event descended into chaos when facilities weren't completed on time, leaving guests to spend the night in rain-soaked tents and without sufficient access to food or water.

Fyre Festival LLC filed for bankruptcy in July 2017 because it couldn't pay its vendors and other creditors. McFarland is now serving a six-year prison sentence for fraud valued at $27.4 million. He and his business partner, rapper Ja Rule (whose real name is Jeffrey Atkins), also faced a $100 million class action related to Fyre Fest. Atkins has claimed over Twitter that he never earned money from the event and that he was "bamboozled."

I too was hustled, scammed, bamboozled, hood winked, lead astray!!!

— Ja Rule (@Ruleyork) January 20, 2019

The models, along with influencers and musical artists who had been scheduled to perform, were paid a total of $5.3 million in advance of the event, court records show.

Kendall Jenner was paid $275,000 to promote the event, court records show. She is represented by DNA Models, the same agency that represents Emily Ratajkowski. Ratajkowski earned $299,000 for her work with Fyre Festival, according to court records, Billboard reported.

First published on January 29, 2019

© 2019 CBS Interactive Inc.. All Rights Reserved.

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