And there were two things about Fyre Fraud likely to be of interest to those who were waiting for Smith's documentary to arrive on Netflix. One: The Hulu documentary, unlike the upcoming Netflix one, had an on-camera interview with Billy McFarland. Two: The Hulu documentary included a note at the end revealing that the other documentary floating around about Fyre Festival—that is, the Netflix one—had among its producers Jerry Media, the company that did the Fyre Festival's social media promotion and made its now notorious promotional video. Representatives of Jerry are interviewed extensively in the Netflix doc, in which they discuss things like their role in deleting comments that cast doubt on the competence of the festival's organizers. (I watched the whole thing and had no idea they were also producers.)
But, as Scott Tobias discussed in his fine piece at The Ringer, Hulu didn't escape ethical scrutiny, either, because that interview with McFarland? They paid him for it, as well as for some footage he allowed them to use, though they won't say how much. Chris Smith (who, you'll recall, made the Netflix doc) says he wasn't willing to pay McFarland for an interview, because he didn't think McFarland should benefit from his own misdeeds.
So to review: Two competing documentaries, both of which were made with at least one breach of normal journalistic practice. Paying for interviews, generally, is Not Done. Likewise, having the subject of a piece participate as a producer is Not Done.
In the end, perhaps what's most surprising is that the films are more similar than they are different. Both hit similar story beats: the Instagram marketing, the early signs of trouble, McFarland's earlier successful-but-weird business making a metal credit card for millennials that was like a superhero suit for their regular credit card. The lack of infrastructure necessary to support the festival. The straight-up lying (concealing, for instance, that far from being deserted, the Fyre location was adjacent to a Sandals resort, oh how basic). And then: the arrival of charter flights, the horrified visitors, the sad cheese sandwiches seen round the world on Instagram, and a coda about what McFarland did after he was arrested that is shocking even when you see it documented for the second time in a week.