Anonymous, a decentralized activist group, claims that Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) and Yuga Labs are complicit in knowingly branding their products with esoteric symbols related to Nazism and other extreme ideologies. It said the brand is infected with not one or two, but with dozens of examples of esoteric symbolism and dog whistles reflecting Nazism, racism, Simianization, and paedophilia support.
A spokesperson for Anonymous said BAYC has been facing the accusations since December 2021. The group said the accusations are far more nefarious than whatever the scam of the week is in the NFT space. Anonymous is calling for investigation and amnesty as the community gets to grips with the hidden in plain sight trolling Yuga Labs is accused of. Yuga Labs filed a lawsuit against conceptual artist Ryder Ripps, Jeremy Cahen, and Does 1-10 in June. It accused the artists of false designation of origin, cybersquatting, false advertising, and trademark infringement. Ripps’ RR/BAYC features identical imagery to the original BAYC collection. He argues that the RR/BAYC collection was about pushing the boundaries of digital images as they pertain to intellectual property and of greater relevance to digital assets, and how the boundaries intersect with the nascent NFT marketplace.
Ripps said his NFT work is centered around provocations and inquiries regarding the nature of non-fungible tokens, provenance, and digital ownership. The artist highlighted that provenance has always been the definitive aspect of establishing an artwork’s meaning and value. He described the lawsuit as an attempt to silence his claims that BAYC is linked to Nazism.
Greg Solano, Yuga Labs co-founder, in a Medium post brushed off the allegations as “a crazy disinformation campaign” which is perplexing considering the team is comprised of Jewish, Turkish, Pakistani, and Cuban friends. Anonymous outlined a phenomenon known as multiracial white supremacy. The group said it’s important to understand that the accusations seen on Twitter about the BAYC collection, point more to a general sense of accelerationism, than just simple racism.