U.S. Marshals put Fyre Festival merchandise up for auction

NEW YORK — More than three years after the highly publicized Fyre Festival famously fizzled out in the Bahamas, merchandise and other “minor assets” are up for sale — courtesy of the U.S. Marshals Service.

In a release Thursday, the U.S. Marshals announced that 126 items from the festival will be auctioned off, with proceeds going toward the victims of Billy McFarland.

McFarland acknowledged defrauding investors of $26 million in the 2017 Fyre Festival and over $100,000 in a fraudulent ticket-selling scheme after his arrest in the scam. He was sentenced to six years in prison in October 2018. Now 28, he’s serving his sentence at a low-security prison in Ohio, according to the Bureau of Prisons.

“This Fyre Festival-branded clothing and other items that were seized from Billy McFarland were originally intended to be sold at the Fyre Festival itself but were kept by McFarland, with the intent to sell the items and use the funds to commit further criminal acts while he was on pre-trial release,” U.S. Marshal Ralph Sozio, of the Southern District of New York, said in the release.

The festival, billed as an ultra-luxurious event and “the cultural experience of the decade,” was supposed to take place over two spring 2017 weekends on the Bahamian island of Exuma. Models and celebrities like Kendall Jenner, Bella Hadid and Emily Ratajkowski had promoted it on social media.

Customers who paid $1,200 to over $100,000 hoping to see Blink-182 and the hip-hop act Migos arrived to learn musical acts were canceled. Their luxury accommodations and gourmet food consisted of leaky white tents and packaged food, prompting attendees to lash out on social media with the hashtag #fyrefraud.

Among the mementos of that festival are sweatpants, shirts and tokens emblazoned with “a conspiracy to change the entertainment world.” As of Saturday, the lots ranged from $10 — the minimum bid for sets of two wristbands — to $300 for a baseball cap bearing the festival logo that had received 20 bids since the auction opened Thursday.

LOS ANGELES — Lena Dunham says her body “revolted” in a debilitating month-long struggle with COVID-19.

The 34-year-old creator and star of “Girls” gave a detailed account Friday on Instagram of what she said she experienced after testing positive for the coronavirus in mid-March, just as much of the nation was shutting down because of the pandemic.

“It started with achy joints,” Dunham writes, “then the pain was joined by a crushing fatigue. Then a fever of 102. Suddenly my body simply revolted.”

She went into isolation and felt severe symptoms for three weeks, she said.

Dunham said she was treated by a doctor in her home and she did not have to be hospitalized, and said she knows she is lucky to have exceptional health care and flexible work.

She tested negative after a month and was able to see people in her inner circle again but said she is having lingering problems.

Dunham is a native New Yorker, but did not say where she was when she contracted the disease and went into isolation. She was the lead writer and star of the HBO series “Girls” from 2012 to 2017.

Dunham said she was reluctant to tell her story, but felt compelled to after seeing the carelessness with which so many are treating social distancing and mask-wearing.

“When you take the appropriate measures to protect yourself and your neighbors,” she writes, “you save them a world of pain.”

For most people, COVID-19 causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some — especially older adults and people with existing health problems — it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death.

The Associated Press