Crazy Protégé Requests from the Fyre Music Festival: Lessons Learned

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By Ellen Ensher Ph.D


Being a protégé involves communicating your goals with your mentor, building trust in your relationship with your mentor, and being open to feedback. Never should a protégé compromise their own morals and ethics or ask their mentor to do the same. Here is a shocking example of a recent mentor-protégé ask for sexual favors that was a definite No-No.

Andy King is a well-known event planner with experience planning lavish affairs from a gala for Leonardo DiCaprio’s environmental foundation to a launch party for the Ferris wheel on the Las Vegas strip. However, King was recently involved in the ongoing difficulty in the planning of a new and luxurious Bahamian musical festival known as Fyre. King served as a mentor to his protégé Billy McFarland who is the festival’s creator. In an effort to save this festival destined for doom, McFarland asked his mentor Andy King to perform oral sex on a customs official to free up cargo stuck in Bahamian customs! Even more surprisingly, King was willing to “take one for the team.”

While King never actually followed through with his protégé’s request, his misplaced loyalty is instructive.  Here are a few lessons about how to make the most out of a relationship with a mentor that does not involve sexual requests!

  1. Consider your mentor as a potential business partner and think about how your requests reflect on both of your reputations.
  2. Utilize your relationship with your mentor as an opportunity to learn and grow. Naturally we all make mistakes as humans, but it is important to always admit to your mistakes.
  3. As a protégé, be your best self as a business person and human being.
  4. Take the time to thank your mentor and show them your appreciation. This can be done by nominating your mentor for an award of writing them a note saying you appreciate them. (I can’t even imagine what a thank you note would sound like for a mentor performing oral sex on your behalf!)
  5. Consider every interaction as if it were going to be front-page news… which this was. So  themost important lesson of all- don’t be a jerk!

For more on being a great mentor or mentee see my LinkedIn Leaning classes.