Just as the backlash from her appearance in that controversial Pepsi commercial has started to die down, Kendall Jenner again finds herself facing controversy for her involvement in the Ja Rule-sponsored Fyre Music Festival.
Fyre Music Festival, an event created by Fyre Media, a talent booking startup co-founded by rapper Ja Rule was, this weekend, set to launch the first of a two weekend run on Great Exuma Island in the Bahamas. Originally billed as “the cultural experience of the decade,” the event was hyped by Jenner and her pals Bella Hadid and Hailey Baldwin as an opportunity for upwardly mobile millenials to rub shoulders with social media influencers and music industry insiders.
The festival was set to feature an all-star line-up, including Blink 182, Pusha T, Major Lazer, Disclosure and Migos. Jenner lent her name to the event in January when she posted highlights from the lineup in a since-deleted Instagram post. In the post, Jenner announced that several artists from brother-in-law Kanye West’s record label, G.O.O.D. Music, would be performing at the festival.
With attendees paying between $1,000 and $12,000 for a ticket, and some VIP packages going for as much as $250,000, revelers have been understandably upset at the scene that greeted them on the island. As the first of the attendees touched down in the Bahamas, it became immediately obvious that what was billed as a “luxurious, eco friendly” space on a pristine, private island actually consisted of an insufficient number of disaster relief tents thrown on a piece of undeveloped land.
In the midst of rumors that artists had not yet recieved payment for appearing at the festival, headliner Blink 182 this week announced they would be pulling out of the event, saying the band “weren’t confident they would have what they need to give the quality of performance we always give fans.”
“Regrettably, and after much careful and difficult consideration, we want to let you know that we won’t be performing at Fyre Fest in the Bahamas this weekend and next weekend. We’re not confident that we would have what we need to give you the quality of performances we always give fans.”
Jenner is still reeling from the fallout from her appearance in a Pepsi commercial earlier this month that was recalled after facing swift criticism from consumers. The ad shows the reality star and model joining an ambiguous protest in the streets before easing tensions between protesters and police by offering one of the officers a can of Pepsi. The scene, which many have likened to a widely circulated photo of protester Ieshia Evans, opened Pepsi and Jenner up to criticism alleging the brand was trying to capitalize on the Black Lives Matter movement and other current protests to sell soda. Protesters involved with the movement also criticized the imagery in the ad, claiming that the friendly, lighthearted scene depicted in the ad did not match the reality they face when protesting police brutality.
Kendall Jenner, Gigi Hadid and Bella Hadid leaving the Anna Sui show at NYFW on February 15, 2017. [Image by Diego Corredor/mediapunch/ AP Images]
While the brand pulled the ad and issued an apology, the terms of Jenner’s contract meant she was unable to publicly comment on the campaign, resulting in further controversy for the star.
“Pepsi was trying to project a global message of unity, peace and understanding. Clearly, we missed the mark and apologize. We did not intend to make light of any serious issue. We are pulling the content and halting any further rollout.”
Heineken, meanwhile, quietly launched their version of a socially progressive ad this week, with the clip quickly gaining millions of views on YouTube. The ad, titled “World’s Apart,” focuses on two individuals with different views on several topical issues, such as feminism, climate change and transgender rights.
View the controversial Pepsi ad in full below.
[Featured image by Jordan Strauss/ AP Images]