The founders of the Bored Ape Yach Club (BAYC) responded to the recent controversy surrounding a documentary accusing them of promoting Nazi imagery.
The co-founder of Yuga Labs, Wylie Aronow, known as Gordon Goner, said that the company has become the target of a “crazy disinformation campaign” that was spreading “ridiculous conspiracy theories.”
Aronow and other founders of Yuga Labs have disputed these claims several times before, calling them “far-fetched.”
As you may have heard, we’ve become the target of a crazy disinformation campaign accusing us – a group of Jewish, Turkish, Pakistani, and Cuban friends – of being super-secret Nazis. 🧵
— GordonGoner.eth (@GordonGoner) June 24, 2022
Letter from the BAYC founders disputes controversial documentary
A video made by investigative YouTuber Phillip Rusnack accusing the BAYC of employing racist and Nazi imagery in their NFTs has gone viral last week, sparking an industry-wide debate about the goal of the collection.
The video was based on a website created by Ryder Ripps, a conceptual artist, where he accused the project of embedding racism and Nazi dog whistles throughout the BAYC collection. Ripps is known for minting and selling knockoff NFTs as a form of satirical art and has used the website to promote RR/BAYC, a copy of BAYC. His copycat NFTs even briefly surpassed BAYC as the most popular collection on OpenSea.
Rusnack claimed that BAYC was a “massive alt-right inside joke” that originated on 4chan. The video went on to call on the community to burn their BAYC NFTs, saying he wanted to force “everyone from Steph Curry to Post Malone, to Jimmy Fallon” to act.
Web3 analyst NFTherder told CryptoSlate that the video was framing and manipulating the data from the original accusations published back in January 2022, altering it to make it more damning for the company. He said:
“Other than the methods used, contradicting information was withheld. These are all unacceptable things when it comes to proper journalistic research and presenting information unbiased.”
Unsurprisingly, the video quickly gained traction, causing an industry-wide debate about the implications of the accusations. The heated debate led to many celebrities and athletes ditching their BAYC profile pictures.
Wylie Aronow, the co-founder of Yuga Labs, said the company wasn’t planning on addressing the claims, calling it “insanely far-fetched.” However, the #BURNBAYC movement had become too large to ignore, prompting them to come up with a response that would put an end to the “ridiculous controversy,” he explained.
The letter explained the origins of the BAYC and Yuga Lab names, as well as the design of the BAYC logo, which has been accused of mimicking the Nazi Totenkopf emblem. The letter states:
“We never wanted to take ourselves too seriously, so the look of the club is ramshackle and divey. Everything about the BAYC was meant to convey a spirit of irreverence and absurdity.”
“Overall, we think it’s crazy that these conspiracy theories have been able to proliferate. It really shows the power that a demented troll on the internet can have.”