Racism at NFT high-flying Bored Ape Yacht Club – Anonymous backs up claims | 10/11/22

Earlier this year, concept artist Ryder Ripps made serious allegations against the creators of the hyped NFT project Bored Ape Yacht Club. The digital artworks, which feature bored monkeys in a variety of designs, are racially motivated and incorporate various symbols of Nazi ideology. Now the hacker collective Anonymous will take care of the matter.

• Bored Ape Yacht Club and Yuga Labs face accusations of racism
• Anonymous conducts its own investigation
• Yuga Labs founders defend themselves

Bored Ape Yacht Club is an NFT collection from Yuga Labs that first saw the light of day in April 2021 and enjoyed great popularity soon after. Many famous personalities have already secured one of the coveted monkeys, increasing the hype surrounding the non-fungible tokens. At the beginning of these years, however, a racism debate flared up around the collection, which shows bored monkeys in a wide variety of outfits. Concept artist Ryder Ripps, for example, published several alleged indications on a website specially created for this purpose that racist worldviews were behind BAYC and that the artists used various symbols of Nazi ideology.

Ripps criticizes that the 2D images use simianization, which means comparing certain ethnic groups to monkeys. Consequently, the cartoon monkeys would have characteristics that would associate them with racist stereotypes about blacks and Asians. Ripps says, “One of these is the hallmark of gold chains just called ‘hip-hop.’ […]or the kamikaze headband of fascist Imperial Japan, which is insultingly referred to as the ‘sushi chef headband’.” In addition to the racist depictions, the artist also claims to have found several indications of a far-right worldview among the BAYC creators. The perfidious part about it is , that these symbols are hidden “in plain sight” and a large uninformed public now adorns itself with such NFTs.

Anonymous comes to a clear conclusion

Since then, the question has been taken up by many users on Twitter and Reddit to investigate how much truth there might be to the claims. Hacker collective Anonymous also conducted its own investigation into the allegations of racism and summarized them in a YouTube video.

However, this is not good news for fans of Bored Ape Yacht Club. Anonymous states that in recent weeks it has “curated, researched and checked countless documents” and conducted interviews with key people. In the end, the hackers came to the conclusion that “without a shadow of a doubt” the Bored Ape Yacht Club and the Yuga Labs brand “are infected with not one or two – but dozens of examples of esoteric symbolism and code words that encapsulate Nazism, racism, some simianization and support for pedophilia.”

companies asked to comment

Anonymous shows understanding that many buyers and supporters of BAYC were certainly not aware of these symbols when they made the purchase, after all the symbols are so woven into the NFTs that they are only recognized by those who are familiar with them. Now, however, it is important not to close our eyes any longer, but to take a stand. The collective lists the most prominent celebrities and companies already partnering with Yuga Labs, which also includes adidas, Tiffany & Co, Universal Music Group, Coinbase and many more. So these supporters of the Bored Ape Yacht Club are asked to state their views on simianization, Nazism and pedophilia. “Would you support a company accused of cryptically incorporating these ideologies into its own brand?”

Anonymous provides “Pitch Deck”.

As a next step, Anonymous says it has put together a “pitch deck” that is “comprehensive but surprisingly straightforward” that companies can hand to their PR representatives and marketing managers. The collective wants to make this available to the companies in the coming weeks so they can understand exactly what allegations have been made against Yuga Labs and BAYC. Anonymous also addresses Yuga Labs in the video. So far, the company has failed to respond in any way to the accusations or remove the criticized associations, to which Anonymous finds clear words: “Do you think you could integrate these sick concepts simply because you understand esotericism and acceleration better than the rest of the world?” The group invited Yuga Labs co-founders Wylie Aronow and Greg Solano for a live discussion on the topic.

Yuga Labs has commented on the allegations several times since the allegations arose, each time denying the allegations. No later than June 2022, when the four founders distanced themselves from the “crazy disinformation campaign” in an open letter.

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