To make sure you never miss out on your favourite NEW stories, we're happy to send you some reminders

Click 'OK' then 'Allow' to enable notifications

Billy McFarland chokes up as he talks about Fyre Festival in first interview after release from jail

Billy McFarland chokes up as he talks about Fyre Festival in first interview after release from jail

"I just really should have cancelled everything and stopped lying"

Billy McFarland appeared to choke up and get teary eyed as he spoke about Fyre Festival in his first TV interview since his release from prison.

Although the fraudster had hoped to become a successful entrepreneur, the failed festival and the backlash that followed has led to McFarland's name being synonymous with a styrofoam plate of cheese and bread.

While making promises that he couldn't keep, the 30-year-old ended up defrauding investors of $27.4 million (£24m) by marketing and selling tickets to the festival and other events.

Things came to a head in 2018, when Billy was sentenced to six years in prison on fraud charges, and was ordered to cough up $26 million (£23m) over the Fyre Festival mess.

Back in May, it was revealed that he'd been released early, and today (November 4) he sat down with Good Morning America for his first broadcast interview since getting out.

When ABC News' Michael Strahan highlighted that so many people know him as a 'conman', Billy acknowledged that he was 'wrong'.

"I messed up, and I was so driven by this desperate desire to prove people right," he said.

"I had these early investors, backers, employees, and I think I was so insecure that I thought the only way to prove myself to them was to succeed and that led me down this terrible path of bad decisions."

The famous photo that symbolises the failure of Fyre Festival.

Strahan then asked McFarland how he can expect people to believe what he's saying now is the truth.

At this moment he grew emotional and appeared to choke up as he said: "What I told investors was wrong and I think the hardest thing for me is the trust that I violated.

"Whether it was friends, investors, or employees, people gave up a lot to try and make this happen.

"How do I call them now and look them in the eye when I let them down? I just really should have cancelled everything and stopped lying."

When asked about what he'd learned behind bars, which included time in solitary confinement, he said: "I used to take pride in getting things done and not how things got done.

"I think going forward the biggest thing for me is building relationships throughout the process.

McFarland insists he's sorry for the mess he caused.
REUTERS/Alamy Stock Photo

"Whether there's success or failure in the business sense, it's more about how it's done instead of taking pride in this 'by all means' idea that's wrong."

McFarland is now on supervised release, and has approximately $26 million to pay back to investors, vendors and people who bought tickets to the festival.

But already the fraudster has started working on a new project, having teased the venture in a now-deleted TikTok video in which he showed off a treasure map taped to a whiteboard.

He explained that the project is a little 'crazier' than anything he's done before, adding that it's time to 'start making this up to everybody'.

The organiser has since revealed more details about the venture, which appears to be some sort of worldwide treasure hunt.

During the interview, Strahan questioned whether his TV appearance was legitimate or whether it was just to promote his new project.

But McFarland insisted: "I need to apologise and that is the first and last thing that needs to be done. I let people down."

Not everyone is buying the apology, however, with one writing on Twitter that the 'fraud' shouldn't be given 'a platform'.

"Why is he not in prison for life," said another, while a third joked, "I'm sure he's got another festival planned."

Featured Image Credit: ABC

Topics: US News, Life, Money, Crime, Viral