Fyre Fraud is an American documentary film directed by Jenner Furst and Julia Willoughby Nason that premiered on January 14, 2019, on Hulu.
Fyre Fraud is described in its press release as a "true-crime comedy bolstered by a cast of whistleblowers, victims, and insiders going beyond the spectacle to uncover the power of FOMO and an ecosystem of enablers, driven by profit and a lack of accountability in the digital age."
On April 16, 2018, it was announced that Hulu was developing a docuseries about the infamous failed 2017 musical festival Fyre Festival. The film was set to be directed by Jenner Furst and Julia Willoughby Nason and executive produced by Michael Gasparro, John Amato, Dana Miller, Angela Freedman, and Sharmi Ghandi. Production companies involved with the film were slated to include The Cinemart, Mic and Billboard.
On January 14, 2019, Hulu debuted the production, titled Fyre Fraud, in a surprise "rush release" with no promotion, advertising, or press preceding the film's launch. The premiere allowed Hulu to get their project out to audiences four days before Netflix's documentary about the same subject, Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened, was released.
The film was met with a positive response from critics upon its premiere. On the review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes, the series holds a 79% approval rating with an average rating of 6.41/10 based on 28 reviews. The website's critical consensus reads, "In the battle over Fyre Festival content, Fyre Fraud comes out swinging with a questionable interview of conman Billy McFarland and a thoughtful exploration of nefarious social strategy." Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned the series a score of 66 out of 100 based on 12 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews."
In a positive review, RogerEbert.com's Nick Allen gave the film a rating of 3½ out of 4 stars and praised it saying, "Fyre Fraud does not just dunk on McFarland, Ja Rule, and anyone who might be complicit—they’re clowns already, their plainly not-smart choices and astounding arrogance making for super-size schadenfreude. More persuasively, it's a damnation of the mentality that helped make it possible, calling out a culture that progressively puts more value into how you make yourself look online." In a similarly favorable analysis, Decider's Joel Keller commended the film and recommended that viewers stream it declaring, "Fyre Fraud is a fascinating examination of social media influencers, millennials who get hooked on their feelings of FOMO, and a modern-day con artist who will likely learn nothing from this or his prison sentence."
In a more mixed assessment, Collider's Brian Tallerico gave the film a "B−" grade and said, "With a bit more polish and a bit more confidence, Fyre Fraud would be a powerful documentary that used Fyre Festival as a springboard for a more incisive examination of fraud in the age of social media, using the festival as a metaphor for expectations versus reality, which (as my wife astutely pointed out), is a mirror for how social media tends to function. Instead, Fyre Fraud is content to exist as a dark comedy of sorts, poking fun at the players involved without really absorbing the seriousness or gravity of their actions."
- Nolfi, Joey (January 14, 2019). "Hulu premieres Fyre Festival documentary with Billy McFarland interview four days before Netflix's". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved January 14, 2019.
- Pedersen, Erik (April 16, 2018). "Hulu Sets Docuseries On Fyre Festival Debacle". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved January 14, 2019.
- Weiner, Jonah (July 10, 2019). "The Great Race to Rule Streaming TV". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved July 12, 2019.
When Hulu learned that Netflix was preparing to release a documentary about the Fyre Festival controversy — in which a supposed grifter sold exorbitantly priced tickets to a functionally nonexistent Bahamas music festival — they saw a chance to kneecap it. Hulu had its own Fyre documentary ready to go, which it rush-released in what Shimabukuro referred to as 'a surprise stunt.'
- Hayes, Dade (January 14, 2019). "Hulu Leapfrogs Netflix In Race For First Take On Fyre Festival". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved January 14, 2019.
- "Fyre Fraud". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. Retrieved July 28, 2019.
- "Fyre Fraud". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved January 24, 2019.
- Allen, Nick (January 16, 2019). "Fyre Fraud Movie Review & Film Summary (2019)". RogerEbert.com. Retrieved January 20, 2019.
- Keller, Joel (January 15, 2019). "Stream It Or Skip It: 'Fyre Fraud', Hulu's Surprise documentary On The Disastrous Music Festival". Decider. Retrieved January 20, 2019.
- Goldberg, Matt (January 18, 2019). "'Fyre Fraud' Review: A Glib Look at the Issues Surrounding Fyre Festival". Collider. Retrieved January 20, 2019.