Fyre Fest's Billy McFarland to employees on leaked call: 'We are not able to proceed with payroll'

The latest news in the disastrous tropical saga that is Fyre Festival comes via audio of a phone call between co-founder Billy McFarland and their employees that was provided to Vice News. McFarland's partner, Ja Rule (born Jeffrey Atkins), was also on the call, but he didn't say much. On the audio, McFarland calmly informs those employees that they're not getting paid.

"After conferring with our counsel and all financial people, unfortunately we are not able to proceed with payroll," McFarland can be heard saying. "We're not firing anyone, we're just letting you know that there will be no payroll in the short term."

According to Vice, the roughly dozen employees of the festival's parent company, Fyre Media, learned that their checks for the previous two weeks would not be coming, and the status of upcoming checks is also uncertain. Several employees expressed shock at the news about their compensation and the bizarre arrangement that McFarland put forward: they were not being fired, just being told their payments weren't coming anymore. McFarland made clear that employees were welcome to resign, but also left open the option for them to continue working at Fyre without compensation.

See reactions to Fyre Festival below:

Fyre Festival reactions
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Fyre Festival reactions
@FyreFraud Just a reminder of what "The Duo" was originally sold as https://t.co/gKz90zNBvu
Here's the "culinary experience" we got for our artists pass at Fyre Festival. https://t.co/Kk9q9uvkX0
One of the kitchens at Fyre Festival. #fyre #fyrefest #fyrefestival https://t.co/gQIpwxrw6S
A view of the luxury food court with some luxury school bus transportation at Fyre Festival. #fyre #fyrefestival https://t.co/XL3PtRw8q0
Food court so lit rn at Fyre Fest. #fyrefestival #fyre https://t.co/sxEX4OduTR
The infrastructure was nonexistent, and the festival staff either a skeleton crew or MIA. https://t.co/8Gh6NevsFI
Luxury trash receptacles at the luxury bar (with no beer). No shoes, no shirt, pajama pants, no problem.… https://t.co/aBWohANKnb
These are the secure lockers at Fyre Fest. They forgot to tell us we needed locks. #fyrefestival #fyrefest https://t.co/Tqyjqbg2Gy
The people running #fyrefest just told the pilot to not take off because they are having colossal problems. Everyone is stranded in Miami.
So happy our plane never took off. We were about 5 minutes from joining "Lord of the Fyre Flies: Ja Rule's Revenge." #FyreFestival
UPDATE: they are having us sign papers for full refunds. They are just pieces of computer paper but I mean...refunds https://t.co/oNa8EIojl1
People are now leaving Fyre Fest in droves. #fyre #fyrefestival https://t.co/gDsYBlh4pY
The line of ex Fyre Festers at the Exuma International Airport. Yes that's throw up. #fyre #fyrefestival https://t.co/jSZHg0F0Kn
We have now gotten off the plane because they can't get the headcount and the manifest to match up. This is fine.… https://t.co/rY3EsW1l9r
.@WNFIV So to recap? Some Instagram kids just paid between $450 & +$12k... to be stranded... in a tropical tent cit… https://t.co/erXgRjCG65
The dinner that @fyrefestival promised us was catered by Steven Starr is literally bread, cheese, and salad with dr… https://t.co/GjBxQygxV9

One employee pointed out that resigning rather than being terminated might hinder their ability to receive unemployment benefits. "I'm not aware of how this impacts the employment benefits. The goal is definitely not to put you in a bad position there, so I will need to get some advice on my side and figure out the best way to proceed," McFarland answered. "If this impacts you, you can email me, and we can figure out what the right way to proceed is, to make sure everybody's in a good place to collect any benefits," he added.

Another employee asked McFarland if they should be concerned about the FBI. "I don't know," he answered. "I think that's an individual thing."

Hear the entire recorded call at Vice News.

This article originally appeared on Spin.

See photos from the initial model-filled promo trip:
Bella Hadid, Emily Ratajkowski and more models hit the Bahamas
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Bella Hadid, Emily Ratajkowski and more models hit the Bahamas
The one and only @emrata #bahamas
Fyre Island 🔥☀️🔥#mondaymood #foreveronvacation #Bahamas 📸 @frankiefoye
work is tough 🙄
Girls On Fyer🔥 #rockstarclient #fyrefestival @fyerfestival #privateisland #bahamas #specialproject #staytuned
🤘👋🖖 😆 #fyrefestival
❤️ @rose_bertram
Bella the ripper ❤️

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