The Tea: A proposed new beach town real estate development is making a splash–and receiving backlash–on social media.
- According to its website, New Fire Island is “A community of gays building a new paradise, inspired by the original Fire Island Pines – in the sunny Mediterranean and for a new era.”
- Citing the unaffordability of gay getaways like Fire Island Pines, Palm Springs, and Provincetown, New Fire Island aims to offer “owner-occupied properties at a price point accessible to a younger generation.”
- The group hopes to build a beachfront paradise in the Mediterranean Sea featuring 1,000 homes at a target cost of $500K each.
The Founders: According to their website, the founding team is comprised of an architect, a venture capitalist, and an Olympic swimmer:
- Nigel Smith, Partner and Chief Product Officer, is an architect and urban designer
- Aron D'Souza, Non-Executive Chariman, is a venture capitalist, attorney and President of Enhanced Games. He also led venture capitalist Peter Thiel’s infamous lawsuit against Gawker Media.
- Brett Fraser, Managing Partner, is a three-time Olympic swimmer for the Cayman Islands and a real estate entrepreneur.
The Marketing: Some of the initative’s marketing has raised eyebrows, including their use of AI images and a series of social media posts on X/Twitter and Instagram.
- Their messaging has praised gays for ushering in “iconic neighbourhood gentrification across the world” and causing “prices [to] skyrocket.” Their website also language like, “Now, it is our turn to benefit from gentrification, not suffer through it.”
The Backlash: Social media users have panned New Fire Island for “tone deaf” messaging and for “using ‘gentrification’ in a positive way.” Others compared it to the ill-fated Fyre Festival and questioned if the initiative was a parody.