Fyre Festival 2 just got its viral organizer back: Andy King confirms he's working with Billy McFarland

Andy King became a viral meme last month after appearing in Netflix's "Fyre" doc. Now he's back to work at his event company, which is putting on the Global Green Oscars party this week. (Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)
Andy King became an internet sensation for his part in Netflix's 2019 documentary "Fyre." (Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

With the questionable revelation of plans to hold Fyre Festival 2, it appears that convicted fraudster Billy McFarland is re-assembling his original team.

Andy King, an event producer whose quotes about oral sex in a Netflix documentary on the doomed and fraudulent festival became a meme and made him famous, confirmed that he has returned to work with McFarland.

"I look forward to working with Billy and our partners to share Fyre with the world," King told The Times in a text message Tuesday. "I'm so grateful to have support to help us execute the ultimate redemption."

Without disclosing the details of his working relationship with festival co-founder McFarland, King said: "More to come soon!"

Read more: Andy King went viral thanks to Netflix’s Fyre Festival doc. Now he’s getting back to his day job

One hundred pre-sale tickets for Fyre Festival 2 went on sale Monday, and despite not yet having a lineup, had sold out within a day. The revived festival's website lists tickets "coming soon" for roughly 700 additional guests, with price tiers ranging from $799 to $7,999.

“It has been the absolute wildest journey to get here, and it really all started during the seven-month stint in solitary confinement," McFarland said in a TikTok video. He was sentenced in 2018 to six years in federal prison after pleading guilty to two counts of wire fraud for his part in defrauding investors of nearly $30 million for Fyre Festival and other events. He was released last September after serving four years, some of it under house arrest.

King, a respected New York-based event planner, collaborated with McFarland and rapper Ja Rule, who were the founders of the fraudulent 2017 luxury music festival on a private island in Exuma, the Bahamas. The fest infamously became a viral sensation after it launched with a glamorous promotional video that featured models Bella Hadid and Emily Ratajkowski frolicking on the clear blue shores of a remote private island “once owned by Pablo Escobar.” Blink-182, Pusha T and Major Lazer were among the many high-profile artists slated to appear.

Read more: Commentary: What the Fyre Fest debacle says about the state of the modern music festival

Its viral status took a different form once festival-goers, some of whom paid more than $10,000, arrived to the island to find unfinished infrastructure, canceled talent, tents that struggled to withstand a storm and a menu that appeared to include cold cheese sandwiches served in polystyrene foam containers.

McFarland immediately drew attention for the failed festival and subsequently faced prosecution and a slew of civil lawsuits.

King, however, didn't become a household name until the following year, when Netflix released "Fyre," a documentary about the failed festival. During the film, King appears as an earnest confidant to McFarland and defender of the event, even as it crumbled.

The moment that made King famous was an anecdote about his role in securing drinking water for the festival. Four 18-wheeler trucks of Evian water had gotten stuck in Bahamian customs. Rather than pay $175,000 to free up the cargo, McFarland had apparently asked King — “our wonderful gay leader” — to “take one big thing for the team” and offer the customs official oral sex to "save the festival."

Read more: Review: Netflix's ‘Fyre’ takes an intimate look at everything that went wrong with the Fyre Festival

King said in the documentary that he accepted the task, went home, washed his mouth with mouthwash and drove over to the official, and offered the sexual favor. The official declined the advance and allowed the water bottles to go through by extending the payment period.

The shocking moment generated various memes about "taking one for the team." It also prompted backlash from critics who called the incident an instance of workplace sexual harassment.

As the wave of memes trended, Kind said he appreciated them and was thrilled about the moment of fame.

During a 2019 interview, King told The Times that he did not condone the actions, but he also didn't regret them, commenting: “At the end of the day, I demonstrated something which was: You know what? Sometimes you’ve gotta do whatever you’ve gotta do to get the job done.

“Did I actually end up doing it? No. Would I have done it? Maybe," he continued. "And in today’s culture, it’s hard to find people that are gonna go that extra mile to get something done properly. I think that really resonated with so many people. Like, ‘Oh, my gosh, you need someone like Andy King on your team, because he’s gonna do whatever it takes to make your event successful.’”

Times staff writers Amy Kauffman and Carlos De Loera contributed to this report.

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This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.