On Wednesday 25-year-old Fyre Festival founder Billy McFarland -- who is being sued for $100M over his catastrophic schadenfreudefest -- gathered his long-unpaid employees on a conference call this week to tell them that "After conferring with our counsel and all financial people, unfortunately we are not able to proceed with payroll. We’re not firing anyone, we’re just letting you know that there will be no payroll in the short term."
But, McFarland added, "I understand that this is not an ideal situation for everybody, and this will likely cause a lot of you to resign, which we totally get and understand. That said, if you want to stick with us, we’d love to have you and we’d love to work together and hunker down and get back to a place where everything resumes to business as usual as usual."
McFarland's refusal to actually fire his employees -- who, again, he will not pay -- means that they are not eligible for unemployment insurance. When employees who had been paid in cash for months asked him if there was even any record of their employment, McFarland promised to email them proof of employment by close of day.
He did not send that email.
During the call, employees asked why they weren’t being fired so they could collect unemployment benefits. “If that impacts you, you can email me,” he McFarland said.
One employee, who had been paid in cash, asked if there was any record of her being an employee at all. Payroll in the office abruptly stopped last October, after which time employees were paid by wire transfer or in cash, a former employee said.
McFarland promised to address the pay stub issue in an email “today,” but another former employee says the email was never sent.
Repeatedly referring to future paychecks as “obligations,” McFarland said that although the company would not be able to fulfill those “obligations” going forward, he was committed to growing the booking platform for celebrity talent which Fyre Media was founded around.
Exclusive audio: Fyre Festival founders reveal to employees nobody’s getting paid [Gabrielle Bluestone/Vice]
(via Late Stage Capitalism)
(Image: Ian Moran, CC-BY-SA)