Staff will no longer be paid, but they're free to volunteer.

By Feliz Solomon
May 12, 2017

Fyre Media founder Billy McFarland has reportedly informed employees that the company payroll has been indefinitely suspended, adding a new layer of dysfunction to the company after a disastrous promotional festival late last month.

A leaked audio recording obtained and published by Vice News reportedly reveals McFarland telling employees on a conference call that the company would not be able to meet payroll commitments going forward, but that they were free to stay on to “help out.”

“After conferring with our counsel and all financial people, unfortunately we are not able to proceed with payroll immediately,” McFarland reportedly says, telling his staff of about a dozen people that “there’s no more official employment.”

Staff on the call responded at first with confusion, which soon morphed into irritation as employees suggested that resigning could impact their eligibility for unemployment benefits. McFarland then said that he would be willing to terminate staff upon request, according to the audio.

Celebrity and talent booking firm Fyre Media earned infamy after the promotional Fyre Festival, organized by McFarland and rapper Ja Rule, descended into chaos. Billed as a luxury event in the Bahamas catering to the ultra-rich, the substandard food and accommodation in repurposed disaster relief tents outraged attendees, some of whom paid up to $12,000 to attend.

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