While lawsuits are filed against the owners of the failed Fyre Festival, many are pointing to the influencers and their role in this. And, indeed, they are the ones that should provide compensation for the Fyre Festival victims.
While Billy McFarland is serving his term in a NY penitentiary, all the “Fire Starters” are making money by trying to convince millions of followers that their Instagram profile is somehow representative of their lives. A few lawsuits to date asserted fraud on McFarland’s part and maybe “false advertising” on behalf of the influencers. But, is it the right way to look at it? Many articles try to address this issue.
If we are looking at the elements of fraud, each and single “Fire Starter” would check all the boxes. They made representations that they knew to be false or they should have known to be false. Most importantly, they represented that the posts were their own opinion while they were paid for them. We have protections regarding the freedom of speech, and opinion is constitutionally protected. However, there are different standards for the commercial speech: it has to be true. So if 250 influencers started this fire, there is enough money to compensate the Fyre Festival victims.
While I doubt that a lawsuit of such magnitude is possible, I would look forward to settle the issue of paid “influence” once for all. I guess we have to sit and wait for the brave participant who is willing to change the way “influencers” operate. And, whoever decides to step forward, earned my respect. It’s time to do it!
Bogdan Enica, Esq.