Netflix’s Fyre documentary left me completely gobsmacked at every turn, feeling frustration in a myriad of different ways.
From Andy’s jaw dropping tale of ‘taking one for the team’, to Billy McFarland’s reckless state of self-denial, this was truly a cautionary tale for the influencer generation.
And rising well above the egos at the centre of the drama was Maryann Rolle, a caterer forced to become a hero to help out her fellow Bahamian workers who were sorely let down by McFarland’s carelessness.
Rolle had not been booked as the original caterer for the disastrous festival – which had falsely advertised 5* cuisine – but reluctantly rose to the challenge, serving more than 1,000 meals to the let-down attendees.
McFarland failed to pay Rolle the $50,000 she was owed for feeding attendees, meaning she had to draw from her own life savings to pay her workers.
Viewers were left in tears as Rolle described how this loss of savings had affected her life:
I had ten persons working for me just preparing food all day and all night, 24 hours. I literally had to pay all those people.
I went through about $50,000 of my savings that I could’ve had for a rainy day. They just wiped it out and never looked back. I don’t even like to talk about the Fyre Festival anymore. Just take it away and let me start a new beginning because they really, really hurt me.
— Emma Vigeland (@EmmaVigeland) January 21, 2019
Two weeks after the documentary’s release, and a GoFundMe page has raised more than $200,000 worth of donations for Rolle and her husband, with many people offering words of support for the hardworking couple.
Showing the sort of dignity and community spirit that many so-called ‘entrepreneurs’ would do well to learn from, Rolle will reportedly use some of the funds to help out other Bahamians who have been hurt by the notoriously shambolic festival.
Speaking with Tribune 242, Rolle described the funds raised as a ‘blessing’:
I cannot enjoy that by myself. I need some folks to celebrate with me.
I would like to bless these folks in Exuma who has worked hard with the Fyre Festival, some of them, not all of them because if you really try to bless everybody you’ll leave with nothing yourself.
But I know there are some people who really worked hard in the community of Exuma so that’s really who I want to rejoice with me and the only way we can rejoice is to be a part of the blessing.
I am a giver.
People see this happening for me (but) I don’t just give to Bahamians, I give to the world and when you give you surely receive and I know that God has blessed me to be a blessing because when I give people a 50-dollar bill I say ‘Lord I wish I had more to give.’
When I give that packing boy five dollars I always say I wish I could give them $10. That has always been me. People come and if they see me with a nice bag and they say they like it, I say you can have it.
I know I am a giver and because I am a giver God has blessed me to be a blessing and that I will do.
After witnessing how unscrupulous and deceptive people can be in the documentary, it’s cheering to see how there are still good people out there looking to help others.
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Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.