The glitzy, Instagrammable rise and catastrophic, cheese sandwich fueled fall of Fyre Festival made for a once in a generation train wreck that so many couldn’t look away from, immortalized through two dueling documentaries just released on Netflix and Hulu. It may seem like the two streaming platforms are simply cashing in with their respective hot takes on the millennial equivalent of the Hindenburg crash, but in fact one of them has a bit of a secret.
The Netflix documentary, Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened, is anything but an impartial account, as Mashable reports. The film was produced by Jerry Media, the social media marketing consultants whose viral digital strategy and coordination of online influencers launched Fyre Festival into the public consciousness. Hulu’s offering, Fyre Fraud, is not likewise affiliated.
Beyond getting the word out when the festival first launched, Jerry Media contributed ongoing support to now-indicted Fyre Festival architect Billy McFarland, even as the house of cards began to fall. Jerry Media managed Fyre’s social media presence, actively squashing an increasing number of dissenters who were questioning the validity of the event or exposing evidence that McFarland was not on the up and up.
While Jerry Media’s affiliation with the Netflix project was never technically a secret, attention has been called to it of late as many internet users have soured on the advertising company, in particular its founder Elliot Tebele and his Instagram account, which generates substantial revenue by reposting for profit materials sifted from all corners of the internet. Content creators are generally not credited or compensated.
Tebele is currently facing intense public criticism, essentially for his long-admitted business model of seeking out amusing viral content online and reposting it for profit on his own pages and accounts. A single branded post from Tebele’s account can reportedly cost as much as $75,000.
Hulu surprise dropping its Fyre Fest documentary today, mere days before Netflix was set to drop its own, is the level of aggressive pettiness I'm here for pic.twitter.com/hROF7C6HqV
— Caroline Darya Framke (@carolineframke) January 14, 2019
“They stole people’s tweets, removed credit and monetized it. That’s all. It’s very simple. And enraging,” said Rolling Stone in a recent editorial condemning Tebele and his practices. Rolling Stone goes on to point out that Tebele’s role in producing the Netflix documentary allowed him to subtly abdicate his own responsibility for the fraud that was Fyre Festival and even cast himself as one of the many unwitting victims of McFarland.
As Tebele combats a growing boycott movement of his company, led by a number of major celebrities and comedians including Patton Oswalt, the company has been releasing statements in an effort to turn the tides on public opinion about their consistent use and profit of content created by other internet users.