Yesterday's Area 51 raid went off without too many arrests or injuries. Unfortunately for event organizers, the meeting seemed to be a little lighter in the attendance category than they would have liked. It was wild to see the actual gathering in the desert come to fruition, but that doesn't mean the millions that signed up all flooded into Nevada to see the spectacle.
According to The Guardian, only 1,500 people made it to the area near "Alienstock" in Lincoln County, Nevada. Even more shockingly, the paper reports that an even smaller band of 150 people actually got within distance to take a selfie of Area 51's gates. Now, luring more than a thousand people to the desert to listent to electronic music and be a part of an elevated meme is still kind of amazing. But, it is a far cry from what many were forecasting when the Facebook group that inspired all those memes crested earlier this Summer.
In other strange news from "Alienstock," Nevada authorities are weighing pursuing legal action against Facebook for their hand in causing all of this fervor. This quiet part of the state was not expecting anywhere near the extra attention before that online group blew up and quickly spread to the rest of the Internet. People are even concerned that the stunt could end up costing the state a lot of cash.
Lincoln County Sherrif Kerry Lee still wants to hold Matty Roberts, the original group organizer, and Facebook responsible for all of the fallout that may come from this strange publicity stunt. He's claiming that the community could need nearly $250,000 to cover the extra costs incurred by the flood of visitors. That number might be a little out there, but he feels it needs to be addressed.
“Matty Roberts is the one that started this on Facebook. So our district attorney, his opinion is that Matty Roberts and Facebook stand to be partially to blame for this” Lee explained to Gizmodo. “He’s already told people that this is quote-unquote ‘His event.’ He told some of the other event promoters that this was his event. And so I guess if it’s his event and he’s taken ownership of it then we know where legal action should go toward. I’m not an attorney but that is what Lincoln County district attorney is saying.”
Frank DiMaggio has partnered with Roberts to produce events, and he's not buying these legal threats. “Good luck with that. Facebook—I mean you might as well go after the Queen of England,” DiMaggio said in the same report from Gizmodo.
“As far as going after Matty or the promoters: So here’s the deal—if you’re going to be offering 250-plus emergency responders for an event, why not just cancel the event? They offered the permit. They permitted it. Now they’re saying, ‘Oh look what you made us do.’”