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Is This a Lawyer Ad or a Trailer for a Disaster Movie?

By William Vogeler, Esq. on May 10, 2017 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Cue the woman screaming. Pyrotechnics. Action!

"Tents are on fire, people fighting for food," a frantic fan tweets as crowds run haphazardly through a refugee scene.

No, this is not a disaster movie. It's just Philip DeBerard advertising for business. The personal injury attorney is looking for clients to sue over an ill-fated music festival.

"Did you pay for and attend the 2017 Fyre Festival in the Bahamas?" he asks on his website. "You may be entitled to compensation!"

Advertising Galore

DeBerard is old school in experience, but cutting-edge in advertising. His website includes a video clip from the Bahama festival site, a fill-in request form and a live chat representative. The message, according to one report, is played out in "an incredible horror movie trailer."

"The Fyre Festival in the Great Exuma Island of the Bahamas, billed as a 'luxury' event featuring high profile music acts and celebrity chefs, was canceled, stranding angry visitors, some of who shelled out thousands upon thousands of dollars to attend," the website says. "Visitors at the music event called it a fraud."

DeBerard says his offices are investigating possible claims, and invites people to call for a free consultation. Only one problem with the solicitation, says Business Insider. DeBerard borrowed the video from a YouTube page of Galore TV.

Scam Claims

According to reports, the festival was supposed to take place on a private island as a "cultural moment created from a blend of music, art, and food." Ja Rule promoted the event, with promises of performances from Blink-182, Tyga, and Desiigner. Prices, which could include VIP passes and staying in a private villa, ranged from $1,500 to $200,000.

But the event fell apart, and disappointed ticket holders found themselves wandering around a tent village looking for food. They headed for the airport, only to have officials lock them inside.

"People are scared, some are crying, and honestly we're just confused," Farah Benghozi told CBS. "People tried to go outside for some fresh air, and security literally pulled out a chain and bolted us in."

The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism issued a statement, which DeBerand linked to his advertisement, apologizing to the visitors. Officials blamed the event organizers for the debacle.

"The event organizers assured us that all measures were taken to ensure a safe and successful event but clearly they did not have the capacity to execute an event of this scale," it said.

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