Ja Rule has been cleared of wrongdoing in a major lawsuit that arose from the ill-fated Fyre Fest, for now, anyway.
Manhattan federal court Judge Kevin Castel ruled on Wednesday that Ja Rule, whose real name is Jeffrey Atkins, can be dismissed from a $100 million civil suit over the festival on the grounds that he did not necessarily know that the event would never occur, Fortune reported.
If you recall, the notorious 2017 event, which was billed as a luxury music festival, saw the rapper teaming up with entrepreneur Billy McFarland. Ticket prices were steep and ranged from between $4,000 to $12,000, but things took a turn for the worse after headline acts such as Blink-182 cancelled their appearances after it emerged that the event was far from ready, which had guests sleeping in disaster zone tents and dining on less than luxurious cheese sandwiches. The failed event was the subject of two recent documentaries at Hulu and Netflix.
Castel’s 32-page decision concluded that Ja Rule, along with the fest’s chief marketing officer Grant Margolin, could be cleared from blame despite publicly promoting the event and encouraging ticket sales.
“[Ja Rule] and Margolin were participants in organizing or promoting a large-scale event,” Castel wrote. “There is no assertion that the Festival when first conceived or introduced to the public was intended not to go forward or that defendants intended not to perform by organizing the advertised amenities and accommodation.”
Despite actively promoting the event on social media until its opening day, Ja Rule is “not alleged to have known of individual ticket of merchandise sales,” according to Castel’s findings.
Ja Rule’s lawyer, Ryan Smith, released a statement about the ruling:
"In July, the Court dismissed all Fyre Festival claims against Mr. Atkins. After this loss, plaintiffs’ law firm Geragos & Geragos appealed that decision. Today, the Court denied their appeal. This ruling is nothing short of a total vindication of Mr. Atkins.”
While Ja Rule and Margolin may have dodged legal responsibility for now, the festival’s founder Billy McFarland is currently serving six years in prison and was forced to surrender $26 million as punishment for tricking investors in the event.