Kendall Jenner addressed her involvement with 2017’s doomed Fyre Festival for the first time in a recent interview with The New York Times. The 23-year-old model was one of the many “influencers”—like Bella Hadid, Hailey Baldwin, and Emily Ratajkowski—hired to promote the music festival on social media.
Although her fellow models also appeared in an a sunny ad teasing the festival on the beach, all Jenner did was post an orange tile on her Instagram feed to announce the festival lineup, which included artists from G.O.O.D Music, brother-in-law Kanye West’s record label. Apparently, that one post, for which she was reportedly paid $250,000, was enough to elevate the buzz about the event. The post has now been deleted.
“You get reached out to by people to, whether it be to promote or help or whatever, and you never know how these things are going to turn out, sometimes it’s a risk,” Jenner told the Times. “I definitely do as much research as I can, but sometimes there isn’t much research you can do because it’s a starting brand and you kind of have to have faith in it and hope it will work out the way people say it will.”
She added, “You never really know what’s going to happen.”
Kendall’s comments come about three months after both Hulu and Netflix released incriminating documentaries revealing the corrupt and unorganized preparations behind Fyre Festival, which was spearheaded by entrepreneur Billy McFarland. Both films emphasized that interest in the event was accelerated by influencer advertising.
“Kendall Jenner is defining a generation. She can take a brand from zero awareness to a brand that has a phenomenal amount of brand equity with one social media post,” social media strategist Vicky Segar said in Hulu’s Fyre Fraud.
“The point of Kendall’s post was to announce that G.O.O.D. Music was involved with the festival. But there was this huge meltdown on the Fyre side,” said Oren Acks, a former employee of Jerry Media, the digital advertising company involved with Fyre.
“I had influencers begging to go because all of the other influencers are going,” he added.
Weeks after the documentaries aired, a federal judge ruled that attorneys can subpoena Jenner’s company and agencies for models who promoted Fyre, CNN reported.
Although this marks Jenner’s first time addressing the Fyre fiasco, she isn’t the only model to speak out about the failed festival. In 2017, Bella Hadid apologized for her involvement with a now-deleted tweet where she said, “I initially trusted this would be an amazing & memorable experience for all of us, which is why I agreed to do one promotion…not knowing about the disaster that was to come.”
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