Unpaid Fyre Fest caterer receives more than $130K in donations after documentaries air

Click to play video: 'GoFundMe campaign for caterers of failed Fyre Festival surpasses $123K goal'
GoFundMe campaign for caterers of failed Fyre Festival surpasses $123K goal
WATCH: A restaurant in the Bahamas that served more than 1,000 meals per day during the so-called Fyre Festival is being compensated for the money lost, thanks to a GoFundMe campaign – Jan 21, 2019

A verified crowdfunding campaign for Maryann Rolle, the caterer interviewed in Netflix’s Fyre Festival documentary, has passed its goal of $120,000.

The restaurant owner said she lost her life savings when she had to pay numerous people after she was deceived by Fyre Festival co-founder Billy McFarland and the rest of his team.

WATCH BELOW: Fyre Festival descends into chaos, frustration, leaving rich festival-goers angry

Click to play video: 'Fyre Festival descends into chaos, frustration, leaving rich festival-goers angry'
Fyre Festival descends into chaos, frustration, leaving rich festival-goers angry

McFarland was behind the disastrous Fyre Festival, which was billed as an ultra-luxurious music festival set against a tropical Bahamian backdrop but descended into abject chaos. He was later arrested and charged with wire fraud.

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READ MORE: Fyre Festival organizers hit with another class-action lawsuit

“Back in April 2017, I pushed myself to the limit catering no less than a 1,000 meals per day,” Maryann and Elvis Rolle wrote in a joint statement on their GoFundMe page. “Breakfast, lunch and dinner were all prepared and delivered by [Exuma Point Resort] to Coco Plum Beach and Roker’s Point, where the main events were scheduled to take place.”

Rolle told her story in the Netflix documentary FYRE: The Greatest Party That Never Happened.

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As she discussed in Netflix’s FYRE documentary, Rolle allegedly had to use her own savings to cover $50,000 in staff paycheques after the the festival organizers never paid her.

“I had 10 persons working directly with me, just preparing food all day and all night, 24 hours,” she said in the Netflix doc. “I had to literally pay all those people. I am here as a Bahamian, and they stand in my face every day.”

“Fyre Fest organizers were also checked into all the rooms at Exuma Point Resort. 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!” Rolle wrote on the GoFundMe page.

“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.”

As of this writing, the GoFundMe campaign has hit $137,805.

READ MORE: Fyre Festival leaked emails show organizers ill-prepared weeks before festival

Rolle told Bahamian newspaper Tribune 242 that she honoured her contract in hopes that the company behind the failed festival would bring business to the island later down the line, as the festival was supposed to happen once a year for the next five years.

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“I wasn’t working for this one; I was working on our future goals with Fyre,” she said. “That was my purpose.”

“I understand how good business should work so I was in agreement. You’re thinking it’s real, we liaison in good faith. In the Bahamas, sometimes we tend to get careless about business and we lean more to good faith. That’s our culture,” she said.

READ MORE: Fyre Festival hit with $100M lawsuit by celebrity lawyer Mark Geragos

Rapper Ja Rule, a co-founder of the festival, went on a Twitter rant following the release of Netflix’s documentary.

He tried to protect from attacks against him by the viewers.

“I love how ppl watch a doc and think they have all the answers…” Ja Rule tweeted.

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He continued: “I had an amazing vision to create a festival like NO OTHER!!! I would NEVER SCAM or FRAUD anyone what sense does that make???”

“Y’all want it to be me sooo bad it’s crazy… kinda sad!!! the crazy sh*t is I’m watching the docs in awe myself…” he tweeted.

The I’m Real rapper finally discussed Rolle.

“You see the key word here is BILLY… IVE NEVER EVEN MET THIS LOVELY WOMAN…” he wrote, quoting a fans tweet.

Ja Rule continued to tweet about the failed festival.

“I too was hustled, scammed, bamboozled, hood winked, lead astray!!!” he wrote.

READ MORE: Concertgoers arrive in Bahamas for Fyre Festival, find out it was cancelled at last minute

On Monday, Ja Rule took to Instagram to dedicate a post to Rolle.

“My heart goes out to this lovely lady… MaryAnne Rolle we’ve never met but I’m devastated that something that was meant to be amazing, turn out to be such a disaster and hurt so many ppl… SORRY to anyone who has been negatively effected by the festival… Rule,” he captioned the photo of Rolle.

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READ MORE: 8 of the biggest celebrity feuds in 2018

McFarland is currently serving a six-year jail sentence for wire fraud. Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald called him a “serial fraudster.”

He admitted to defrauding investors of $26 million in the 2017 music festival and over $100,000 in a fraudulent ticket-selling scheme after his arrest in the festival scam.

Buchwald said McFarland deserved a long prison term because he disrespected the criminal justice system by lying to law enforcement agents when they learned about the ticket-selling business.

Speaking in a courtroom packed with friends, family and at least one victim, McFarland apologized as family members cried behind him.

He said he hit rock bottom and plans to become a better person.

—With files from the Associated Press and Rahul Kalvapalle


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