Models Kendall Jenner, Bella Hadid, Emily Ratajkowski, and Hailey Baldwin are facing fierce backlash on social media for promoting the Fyre Festival, a promised luxury music festival experience that spectacularly collapsed Friday and left many ticket buyers feeling like they had been scammed.
The runway stars had promoted the Fyre Festival as a must-attend entertainment event on their Instagram accounts and starred in a flashy video campaign.
But the festival was a complete disaster, with guests who paid up to $200,000 per ticket arriving on the island to find half-built infrastructure, shabby tents, a lack of food, a lack of security and even thieves.
Fyre organizers Ja Rule and entrepreneur Billy McFarland flew the models to the Bahamas to shoot the promotional video last November, Vanity Fair reports.
Hadid and Jenner — the latter of whom recently faced harsh criticism after starring in a politically-charged Pepsi commercial — were taking the brunt of the social media heat.
— Inner Thoughts (@innerideas2017) April 28, 2017
— Camilla Mary-Rose (@CamillaMaryRose) April 28, 2017
Kendall Jenner gonna hand these kids a Pepsi and let em know it's gone be alright. #fyrefestival
— Red Foxx (@gotMAB21) April 28, 2017
— Leezy (@Leezy_TMNY) April 28, 2017
Pretty busy last couple of weeks for @KendallJenner deleting all those Pepsi and Fyre Festival promotions from her social media.
— Enty (@entylawyer) April 28, 2017
— Jay Zalowitz (@jayzalowitz) April 28, 2017
Kendall Jenner, drinking a Pepsi, on a United flight, to the Fyre Festival.
— Brian Jones (@ApeFroman) April 28, 2017
Fyre fest organizer Ja Rule apologized for the chaotic fallout in a statement Friday, saying that he is working to get everyone off of the island and that the event was “not a scam.”
“I wanted this to be an amazing event it was NOT A SCAM as everyone is reporting I don’t know how everything went so left but I’m working to make it right by making sure everyone is refunded,” he wrote.
But according to Page Six, A-listers were warned by Fyre organizers in advance to steer clear of the island event.
“They called all the A-list names and the modeling agencies and told them not to come,” a source told the gossip site. “They were just like, ‘Oh, come next weekend when all the kinks have been worked out.’ This was before the chaos even started.”
A Page Six source also said that event organizers “abandoned” the festival after taking in millions of dollars.
“Everybody who was organizing the festival took off,” a source reportedly said. “They abandoned it. They put up a sh—y stage, took millions of dollars, and then left everybody stranded. It was like a scene out of that movie ‘Exodus.’ There were people with bags, not knowing what to do. I feared for people’s safety, it got so bad.”
The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism said it was “extremely disappointed” for those ticket holders who traveled to the island expecting a luxurious weekend of high-end entertainment.
Follow Jerome Hudson on Twitter: @jeromeehudson