Last week, Billy McFarland, the primary organiser of Fyre Festival, announced he was starting a new tell-all podcast called Dumpster Fyre to share his side of the story regarding the ill-fated party.
Two years into a six-year prison sentence for fraud, McFarland said he’d recorded the podcast using his allotted 15 minute phone call each day. At the time, he said he was “not going to hide behind my mistakes, I’m going to share everything that happened.” He also said profits from the podcast would go towards compensating the victims of his crimes.
Now, as the New York Times reports, McFarland’s lawyer Jason Russo says the disgraced entrepreneur has been placed in 23-hour solitary confinement following – and potentially as a result of – the podcast’s launch. Pending an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Prisons, McFarland may remain in confinement for up to 90 days. McFarland’s cellmate has also been placed in solitary confinement.
“We believe the investigation stems from his participation in the podcast and the photographs that were taken and utilized in the trailer, which were all properly taken,” Russo told the Times.
“We don’t believe he’s violated any rule or regulation, and there can’t possibly be anything else. He’s been a model prisoner there.”
Indeed, it’s not entirely clear exactly what rule McFarland has broken with his participation in the podcast. The Federal Bureau of Prisons did not comment.
While McFarland has been rightfully criticised for his crimes, the harms associated with solitary confinement are well-documented, with a 2017 study claiming “a robust scientific literature has established the negative psychological effects of solitary confinement”. Prolonged solitary confinement is often considered a form of psychological torture.
The first episode of Dumpster Fyre premiered last week. In it, McFarland openly tells interviewer Jordan Harbinger that he is guilty of fraud, admitting to lying to investors.