Kendall Jenner was paid $250K to promote the Fyre festival on social media

The British Fashion Awards 2018

I would love to read an in-depth article about how social-media sponsorships work for the rich and famous. I want to know how various “Instagram models” are approached for sponsorships, and whether there are agents and managers who now specialize in those kinds of business deals and negotiations. Like, I think Kendall Jenner is an idiot, but would she have accepted $250K to promote the Fyre festival on her own? Of course not – she has people. Her mom is her manager. She has an agent and probably a business manager and other assorted people who handle those negotiations and deals. The truth is, a lot of behind-the-scenes people did their clients dirty with the Fyre festival, and now their clients’ names are still in the press for an awful reason.

The disaster that was Fyre Festival continues to go down in flames. Agencies that represent Kendall Jenner, Bella Hadid, Hailey Baldwin, Elsa Hosk and other models will be subpoenaed as part of Fyre’s bankruptcy filing, according to court documents obtained by E! News. Fyre Festival’s bankruptcy trustee Gregory Messer filed an ex-parte order in bankruptcy court to examine a number of agencies and it was approved on Monday.

There’s currently an investigation underway to uncover what happened to $26 million that Fyre Festival’s founder Billy McFarland raised by investors. According to Billboard, Messer is looking into $5.3 million in payments in this latest subpoena. The grand total of payments being investigated thus far from the number of orders equals $11.3 million.

According to the court filing, Messer is now turning to IMG Models, DNA Model Management and Kendall Jenner Inc. for some answers about McFarland’s payments to their agencies in relation to their appearance in the festival’s promotional video. IMG represents Baldwin, Hosk and Hadid while DNA has Emily Ratajkowski. Billboard says McFarland paid IMG $1.2 million over a span of four months spanning from November 2016 until February 2017. In January 2017, the Keeping Up With the Kardashians star apparently received $250,000 for her role in promotion Fyre Festival. Similarly, DNA Model Management got $299,000 in March 2017.

Daily Mail reports that Jenner promoted Fyre on Instagram beforehand and said in a now-deleted post that her “G.O.O.D. Music Family” would be headlining the show. Kanye West founded the G.O.O.D. Music record label in 2004. At the time, Jenner received a warning from the Federal Trade Commission because she did not make clear that it was an ad and sponsored post.

[From E! News]

Well, at least they’re all in it together. It’s not just Kendall out there, promoting shady fraud festivals. Fyre Festival used the same methods that many companies use: they went through the models’ management and agencies and used them as “models for hire,” on ad campaigns exclusively for social media. Of course, it’s not a good look for any of them. But I can’t help but be curious about how all of this worked behind the scenes contractually, and whether people at these various agencies are going to end up losing their jobs too.

2nd Annual Revolve Awards - Arrivals

Photos courtesy of WENN.

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28 Responses to “Kendall Jenner was paid $250K to promote the Fyre festival on social media”

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  1. Harryg says:

    Hope this will make people, especially teenagers, aware that people like Jenner and Hadid plaster their name to just about anything for money. They don’t care. It’s all about raking in the dollars.
    And Ja Rule looked like a total moron in that doc. And McFarland is stupid and evil.

    • Jamie says:

      Totally agree. Jamila Jamil has called them out for endorsing harmful diet teas to their followers. The Kardashian Jenners don’t know or care if the stuff works. They just care whether the check clears. Hopefully, their followers will take this lesson from the Fyre debacle.

    • SK says:

      I mean, it was never hidden? The Kardashians/Jenners are super obvious about it.

      Jenner is most at fault of the models because of the whole G.O.O.D. Music thing that – with her familial association with Kanye – made it seem legit that Kanye was headlining this event. That was a supremely easy thing for her and her team to check and obviously it didn’t happen. That was very poor form.

      The other models were doing exactly what they are paid to do in their jobs every day. Model in a campaign for something and get paid for it. That is literally their job. Bear in mind that, these days, all models are expected to have social media accounts (no more Kate Moss-esque mystique) and they are paid more by clients for a higher number of followers and to promote the client on their social media. So everyone goes on about insta models, but in fact all models – even the ones who came up the traditional way – are expected to participate in Instagram promotion.

      Ultimately, although they can choose what to work with, the model in an ad is not responsible for the quality of the product being sold. The models in BMW ads are not responsible for the speed, performance and safety of the cars, BMW is. The models for H&M are not responsible for the quality of the clothes, H&M is.

      Bear in mind that they had no idea this festival wasn’t legit. A famous music star was involved, a very convincing con man was at the helm who everyone seemed to agree was an incredible entrepreneur, there were world class people working on the campaign, everything seemed in order. The fact that other top top models were there and they were all being paid their high fees probably made it seem like these guys were flush and super high end.

      The only thing the models did wrong (and let’s be fair, NO ONE did this at the time) was not disclose that the social media posts were ads. This has now changed that and people now disclose this information.

      Also, I’d like to point out that Hadid actually doesn’t slap her name on anything and everything. She doesn’t promote skinny teas or waist trainers or dodgy products in general. She promotes traditional products like fashion, perfume, jewellery and accessories as do all the other top models – that is their job after all. Let’s be fair!

      In any case, I don’t know what the legalities and practicalities of the situation are, but if these girls wanted to switch up the story and improve their PR they would each donate part of their fee for this deal to the Bahamanians who got screwed over. That’s an instant win win right there.

      On another note, I watched the Netflix documentary last night and I was rewinding and rewatching constantly. Wow!!!!! What an absolute clusterf*%#!!! I cannot believe the professional events teams who allowed themselves to get involved in this. What were they thinking?? I used to work in events and the kinds of timelines and frameworks they were given are ridiculous. No one could pull that off! Also, when you work in events it is very obvious who has experience and know-how and who does not. The fact that the guys running this had no experience and had all these huge, crazy ideas that were extremely difficult to pull off and they wanted everything done, for the first time ever, in such a short period of time should have set off major warning bells and had them running screaming. I wouldn’t have touched this event with a ten foot pole. Yes, I have the privilege of hindsight, but even just the way it was described in the old footage was extremely iffy. The fact that they promoted and sold it out BEFORE they worked out costs and logistics is insane and a huge warning sign right there that they had no idea what they were doing. How can you decide on ticket prices without first working out your costs and your sponsorship platform??? Madness. I get that their fees were still owed to them, but after the first signs of chaos and disorganisation started to come up they should have cut their losses and walked rather than be associated with something like that.

      One final note: something really struck me watching the documentary. It’s when they’re filming the ads and they’re with the second group of models (why they needed two lots of top models is in itself insane). They’re at the bonfire, the girls have put warm clothes on. These guys seem to have become delusional and think that this is their real life and these girls are hanging out with them to party for real – not because they’re being paid for a campaign. Ja Rule is trying to bully Chanel Iman, and then Shanina Shaik and the other girls into running into the water with him (with or without their swimsuits). He calls Chanel “baby”. He swears at them. He attempts to order them around. And what really struck me is the super uncomfortable looks on the faces of the girls. In Chanel’s eyes, then Shanina’s and the model next to her. US? Follow YOU? And that, that right there is workplace harassment. You can see that these girls are confused. They are done shooting for the day, no? This is creepy and weird. They are uncomfortable. They are not for sale. They are top top models who are being treated like “video hos” (not that those girls should be treated that way either!!!!!). Clearly the guys directing and filming the ad found it uncomfortable too. It was a particularly pathetic moment early on.

  2. Veronica says:

    Eh, the people who attended Fyre Festival are rich enough to survive the monetary loss of Fyre festival. It’s the native business owners who were screwed out of their money, time, and work that we should be worrying about. The promoters literally destroyed the businesses of some of those people by failing to pay them.

    • paranormalgirl says:

      Yes, they did. They destroyed some lives with this mess. There are people who still haven’t recovered from the financial stress.

    • Dani says:

      Agree. I feel worse for the people who worked for Fyre Company and everyone from the Bahamas that was involved and put in hours of endless and unpaid work as opposed to these stupid rich kids who had thousands to throw down on a festival. The documentary was so sad – especially the woman who owned the restaurant who had to take her life savings to pay off people. I don’t feel bad for the Jenner’s or Hadid’s or other dumb people shelling themselves for money.

  3. Harryg says:

    And I want repulsive mom Jenner to be held accountable too.

  4. Swack says:

    At some point you need to learn to double check what your “people” are doing for you. People have lost fortunes because they trust others to take of things and not rip them off. Maybe use your brains a little more.

  5. Lolly says:

    Kendull Jenner obviously has an insane amount of followers, but that does not equal an insane amount of revenue from her involvement in promotion. When will companies realize this? Her Estée Lauder campaign did not pull their average revenue. Her vogue magazines were some of their lowest selling. Why is she still a thing??

    • Dutch says:

      Because she has over 100 million Instagram followers, many of whom buy products she endorses. $250k is cheap to rack up that many impressions to a target audience is young. To compare, the highest rated show on American TV is Sunday Night Football and it only draws a little more than 18 million viewers a night and a minute of advertising cost $700k in the 2017-18 season.

      • Brandy Alexander says:

        Hasn’t it already been proven that most of her followers are bots though? That’s why it doesn’t translate to actual sales.

      • Dutch says:

        Even if 60 percent are bots, that’s still twice the impressions in a key demographic than the highest rated TV show.

  6. lucy2 says:

    I’m not going to blame them for taking a deal their managers arranged for them, but knowing what they know now, I hope every penny they received is returned or donated.

    • Harryg says:

      I do blame them. I don’t care if they are young and dumb, I blame them. I blame their managers too, but if you are selling yourself as some kind of brand, you are responsible. And Hadid in my opinion has based her whole modeling career on fraud, sort of, with her reconstructed face.

  7. Lizzie says:

    on one hand – it isn’t kendall jenner (or any other model’s) responsibility to make sure that the fyre fest was successful or have insight that the person in charge was going to commit fraud. at the point of the model’s involvement, every other business or person involved thought it was legit. but i agree with the poster above saying hopefully this shows that these “influencers” aren’t representing anything but consumerism and they will shill anything for a buck no matter what it is, if it works, or who wins or loses from it.

    i think it would a very nice thing for the people of means, who were the face of the fyre fest to come together, make a statement and donate some money to the people in the bahamas. it is not their responsibility in any way to provide back pay to people they didn’t hire, book or contract with but it would be a really nice gesture and also great PR. it is a no lose situation for them to provide some small restitution, even if they aren’t the guilty party.

    • brooksie says:


    • Harryg says:

      The Jenner-Kardashians especially like to tout how they are “marketing geniuses” – well here we see very clearly what it really is. Con artists.

    • ans says:

      totally agree with this 100%

    • Dutch says:

      I agree with the sentiment. But the practical side is that there is a loooong list pf people trying to get their money back from this thing. Digging into their own pockets to pay the Bahamian workers is a nice gesture, but is also practically admitting guilt during a time when these people are facing multiple class-action suits.

  8. minx says:

    She’s just….zzzzzzz. And she was a pretty girl who is looking more and more like the rest of the trash heap.

  9. eto says:

    I watched the doc on Netflix and thought it was really kind of one the Fyre Media employees (they worked on an app for booking talent & weren’t involved in the festival at all) basically said something along the lines of “How can I expect these models to have better intuition about this festival when I had no idea and I worked for them?”

    I’m so glad that people have to tag their ads on social media now but I don’t think the models should be getting as much heat as they are.

  10. Faye G says:

    I Just watched the Netflix doc and something really bothered me. That small group of festival attendees, headed by that one red head guy, who sued ahead of the class-action and won $5 million judgement. How on Earth are they receiving such a staggering amount of money for what, several thousand dollars and a weekend lost? That money should go to the Bahamians who were conned. The whole thing doesn’t sit right with me.

  11. cynthia says:

    we been knew.

  12. Stefnstuff says:

    The fyre fest doc on Hulu was a good watch as well. I did the trial membership on Hulu specifically for the doc then cancelled my subscription. I recommend it..

  13. Meg says:

    me thinks Kendall needs new management-how many more screw ups is she going to be a part of? pepsi commercial? this festival? I think all her momager sees is $$$ so she doesn’t do research and throws her kids under the bus.

  14. Shelley says:

    How could they have known it was a fraud? It looked like it would be great from the outside. The concept was not bad.

    But I hate how famous people are always shilling crap. Wives of country singers, rock stars, whatever. They are always shilling this and that with a code. Their husbands make 50 mil a year! Why???