There's a silver lining to the dumpster fire that is Fyre Festival after all.
Maryann Rolle, who owns Exuma Point Bar and Grille in the Bahamas, tugged heartstrings when she appeared in the Netflix documentary, Fyre. Not only did she work for no pay, but she was scammed out of her life savings. Now, she's getting the relief she deserves.
In Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened, Rolle explained that she emptied her savings account to pay her workers before the festival went all the way south.
"I had 10 persons working directly with me just preparing food all day and all night, 24 hours," Rolle recalled. "I had to literally pay all those people. I am here as a Bahamian, and they stand in my face every day. I went through about $50,000 of my savings that I could have had for a rainy day. They just wiped it out and never looked back. Personally, I don't even like to talk about the Fyre Festival. Just take it away and let me start a new beginning, 'cause they really hurt me. I am really hurt from that."
Rolle is just one of many victims of the fraudulent extravaganza. What was supposed to be a luxurious weekend of concerts and parties on a beautiful island ended up a monumental disaster. None of the promises made to ticket buyers were met, funds were swindled, and suppliers were left high and dry. Nobody went home happy.
On January 14, Rolle created a GoFundMe page for the money she lost to the scam. She set an optimistic $123,000 goal in hopes of regaining the financial security she once enjoyed.
"Back in April 2017 I pushed myself to the limit catering no less than a 1,000 meals per day. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner were all prepared and delivered," she wrote on the page. "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! My life was changed forever, and my credit was ruined by Fyre Fest. My only resource today is to appeal for help."
And help she received! In true internet solidarity, Rolle seemingly reached her goal overnight. As of this writing, the campaign has raised more than $174,000 — over $50,000 more than her goal, and the amount is still rising. Congratulations, internet, you did it again!
As donations poured in, messages of support also flooded the page. "Your testimonial at the end brought me to tears," one donator wrote. "I’m so sorry about what happened to you and everyone else scammed on your island. I hope this little bit can help you and those in your community."
"Of all the people who suffered because of this fiasco, Bahamian locals like you got it worst. You deserved so much better!" wrote another. "Bless you for all your hard work."
Meanwhile, rapper Ja Rule (a co-founder of the event who somehow dodged prosecution), took to Instagram to express sympathy for 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..." the music mogul wrote. "SORRY to anyone who has been negatively effected by the festival."
Festival creator Billy McFarland, who plead guilty to fraud charges last year, is now serving a six-year prison sentence.
Justice has been served, I guess?