Restaurant owner scammed by Fyre Festival raises $175,000 in crowdfunding

Ben Arnold
Maryann Rolle (Credit: Netflix)

A restaurant owner in the Bahamas who lost her $50,000 life savings thanks to the ill-feted Fyre Festival event, has so far landed $175,000 in a crowdfunding drive.

Maryann Rolle, who was featured in the recently-released Netflix documentary Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened, is the owner of the Exuma Point Bar and Grille with her husband Elvis.

The couple lost tens of thousands of dollars when the organisers of the event, which went horribly wrong in the summer of 2017, fled the island and failed to pay her and hundreds of others for their work.

In an appeal on GoFundMe, she said: “It has been an unforgettable experience catering to the organizers of Fyre Festival. Back in April 2017 I pushed myself to the limit catering no less than a 1000 meals per day.

“Breakfast, lunch and dinner were all prepared and delivered by Exuma Point to Coco Plum Beach and Roker’s Point where the main events were scheduled to take place. Organizers would also visit my Exuma Point location to enjoy the prepared meals.

“Fyre Fest organizers were also checked into all the rooms at Exuma Point Resort.

(Credit: Netflix)

“As I make this plea it’s hard to believe and embarrassing to admit that I was not paid… I was left in a big hole! My life was changed forever, and my credit was ruined by Fyre Fest. My only resource today is to appeal for help.

“There is an old saying that goes ‘bad publicity is better than no publicity’ and I pray that whoever reads this plea is able to assist.”

And help they have, to the tune of $175,000 at the time of writing, after seeing Maryann in tears during the documentary, telling of how she had lost everything.

The event’s organiser Billy McFarland, who had intended to throw the most lavish – and expensive – festival ever conceived on the island in the Bahamas, was eventually jailed for six years in 2018 for fraud.

This week, the rapper Ja Rule, who was one of the partners in the festival, made an attempt to Maryann in a post on Instagram.

However, he was quickly slammed by commenters, who reminded him of remarks he made in the Netflix movie, during which he denied events of the festival constituted ‘fraud’, but merely ‘false advertising’.

Rule has since claimed that he was scammed by McFarland too.

But so far, he’s getting little traction on the claims…

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