Fyre Festival plagiarized Iranian-American astronaut Anousheh Ansari and had a man read her quote

By Mitchell Blatt | Culture

May 02

“The actual experience exceeds all expectations and is something that’s hard to put to words … It sort of reduces things to a size that you think everything is manageable … All these things that may seem big and impossible … We can do this. It gives people that type of power.”

Those are the words of Anousheh Ansari*, engineer, telecom executive, and the first self-funded female space traveler (and fourth overall).

Those are also the words that begin the Fyre Festival’s promotional video, as they are read in by a male voice out of a 1950’s radio broadcast.

The promotional video was not the only place Fyre used Ansari’s quote unsourced. Fyre also modified the quote for use in its hilarious slide presentation:

“The actual experience exceeds all expectations and is something that’s hard to put to words. It will IGNITE that type of ENERGY, that type of POWER in our guests.”


Ansari herself has expressed her own empathy for people stuck at airport in February of this year at the Oscars. Standing in for Iranian director Asghar Farhadi, who won his second Best Foreign Language Film Oscar for The Salesman, she read his statement. In part:

I’m sorry I’m not with you tonight. My absence is out of respect for the people of my country and those of other six nations whom have been disrespected by the inhumane law that bans entry of immigrants to the US.

*There is an article from 2007 by Space.com columnist Leonard David, which quotes Ansari, and the part about it being “something that’s hard to put into words” may be a paraphrase by David:

The actual experience “exceeds all expectations” and is something that’s hard to put to words, Ansari advised. “A lot of people say that diving is the closest thing to being weightless. It comes close, but still, it’s not the same.”

Ansari made her trip into space in September 2006.

Like this article? Subscribe to receive articles and updates by email!

About the Author

Mitchell Blatt is a travel writer, editor, and columnist based in China. He is an author of two guidebooks, Panda Guides Hong Kong and Panda Guides China. He has been published in National Interest.org, The Korea Times, Roads & Kingdoms, Vagabond Journey, The Hill.com, City Weekend, Silkwinds and The World of Chinese, among other outlets. See examples of his published articles.

Follow Mitch on SNS
Mitchell Blatt is an intrepid travel writer, and an author of two top China guidebooks, who brings his readers deep into the cultures of the places he explores. Subscribe now to get real stories of real people in real places around the world delivered right to your inbox.