Attorneys for Billy McFarland, the New York would-be entrepreneur best known for organizing the disastrous Fyre Festival—the most high-profile of a history of schemes that saw him sentenced to 6 years in jail for fraud in 2018—have alleged that McFarland is being punished for participating in a podcast detailing the history of the infamous event. Specifically, McFarland’s lawyers say that he (and his cellmate, who also participated in the project) have been placed in solitary confinement for calling in to the new podcast Dumpster Fyre, which premiered this Tuesday.
And look: As denizens of the internet, we have the same kneejerk thoughts running through our heads that everybody else does, regarding the ways mandatory confinement might make for a pretty good deterrent to the social scourge of rampant podcasting. But the fact is, solitary confinement is an incredibly rough thing for the human mind and body to undergo, to the extent that human rights advocates have been calling for its abolishment for years, and if these allegations are true, it’s a decidedly nasty reaction to McFarland performing the completely legal activity of calling someone on the phone. (Per The New York Times, a representative for the Bureau of Prisons refused to comment on the situation, stating that it never comments on inmates’ housing.)
Produced by the Notorious media company, the first episode of Dumpster Fyre sees McFarland interviewed (from prison) by internet and radio personality Jordan Harbinger. Heading off the most immediate complaint against its existence, the show’s producers also state early on that any profits McFarland would have gotten from the project will go towards the people who were victimized by the festival instead. The first episode seems to show McFarland—who credits a previous stay in solitary for giving him a chance to reflect on people that he’s hurt—in full repentance mode, although he’s also quick to move at least some of the blame for the event’s total collapse into aimless anarchy on other members of his organization. Meanwhile, it’s not clear how much of the show has already been recorded, or whether the current conditions of McFarland’s employment will block its plans for future releases.