Netflix vs. Hulu: Who Roasted Fyre Festival the Hardest?

By now, we’ve all seen or heard about both documentaries that chronicle the implosion of a festival that was supposed to make Coachella seem like an over-priced carnival.

In a move that can only be described as absolutely savage, Hulu dropped their surprise Fyre doc four days before Netflix’s long-anticipated one was to be released. After watching both, I have my opinion on which one is “better,” but I truly believe that you need to watch both to get the full story. The documentaries overlap in the main themes of this disaster, so let’s take a look at the highlights that set them apart.

Image: Fyre Fraud (hulu)

On the left, we have Fyre Fraud by Hulu:

  • Actual interviews with Fyre founder, Billy McFarland
    • This can be taken as a negative or a positive because Billy was paid for the interviews, and the group behind the Netflix doc refused to pay Billy for any sort of participation. However, it does bring an interesting element to Fyre Fraud because you get to see him answer, or for the most part, avoid hot-button questions.
  • Billy McFarland’s girlfriend is interviewed, giving us a glimpse into how Billy interacts with people he isn’t trying to get money out of.
    • Also, he’s dating a Russian model? And I do mean currently dating…despite the whole fraud thing and having absolutely no remorse for any of his actions.
  • Fyre Fraud was not produced by the social media company involved in the actual festival
    • Jerry Media is one of the producers of Netflix’s Fyre; they also played a heavy hand in the social media content for the festival. If you watch both, you’ll notice that Jerry Media takes a lot of heat in the Hulu version, whereas they almost absolve themselves of any blame in the Netflix one.
Image: Fyre (Netflix)

And on the right, we have Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened by Netflix

  • In depth exploration of what the festival did to the Bahamian people and businesses.
    • Netflix made sure to showcase how Billy and team fled the scene once things went south, leaving Bahamian natives confused, angry, and unpaid. One restaurant owner ended up paying her employees $50,000 out of her savings after Billy went radio silent.
  • Concrete intel via e-mail receipts and video conferences.
    • It’s one thing to hear everyone’s stories of what happened in the Bahamas that April, it’s another to see it typed out and captured on a conference call. You can see the delusional thinking of Chief Marketing Officer, Grant Margolin, as he responds “at least they’ll see your smiling face and crazy yoga skills” when warned in an e-mail that there isn’t enough housing and none of the infrastructure will be built in time. Sure, who needs a place to sleep as long as you can get your Warrior pose fix in the morning, am I right?
  • “Taking one for the team” for Evian water.
    • By FAR the most shocking detail that Netflix has over Hulu is the recanting of Andy King’s experience getting water for the festival. In short, Billy tells Andy that he needs to “take one for the team” by performing oral sex on someone to avoid paying  $175,000 in customs fees for water. Luckily, it didn’t end up happening, but the sheer fact that it sunk to that level is sickening.

Personally, it’s hard to ignore Jerry Media’s part in producing the Netflix documentary. While Netflix had more shocking details with the water fiasco and potential hostage situations, I believe Hulu’s Fyre Fraud does a better job of objectively holding the parties involved accountable.

If there is one silver lining to all of this, it’s that these documentaries have sparked GoFundMe’s for the Bahamian people who were left stranded. Over $100,000 has been raised for Maryann Rolle, the restaurant owner who emptied her savings for her employees. Here’s to hoping this is the start of making those involved financially whole again, and the end of people falling for an “entrepreneur” whose brightest idea was Magnises…a combination of the words ‘magnet’ and ‘penis.’

Till next time Festy Fam.

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