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Six months after the first response to allegations that Yuga Labs' NFT collection, the Bored Ape Yacht Club, contains racist images, the company's creators have written a blog post expanding on the subject.
Gordon Goner (real name: Wylie Aronow), the co-founder of Yuga Labs, stated on Friday, "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." He described the allegations as "insanely far-fetched" and "bullshit" and stated that it was time to "put an end to all this."
Goner noted that Yuga Labs has previously detailed most of its roots in earlier blogs. Still, he gave further background about, among other things, the genesis of the BAYC logo, the name "Yuga Labs," and the founding teams' pseudonyms.
“There’s a long history of people affectionately referring to themselves as apes in crypto,” Goner noted, explaining the team’s choice to build Ape avatars.
According to the letter, he also released a private email that offers insight into the design of the BAYC logo, which was influenced by skateboarding culture, hip hop culture, Japanese animation, and streetwear culture.
Goner referred to anti-BAYC campaigner Ryder Ripps as a “troll” who “spreads crazy conspiracy ideas online to sell counterfeit NFTs.”
Ripps, a creative director who developed the website gordongoner.com to explain why the BAYC is “racist” and “contains Nazi dog whistles,” designed an Ethereum NFT collection that blatantly appropriated BAYC artwork. Ripps’ Twitter profile photo is his RR/BAYC avatar.
Since then, OpenSea has deleted Ripps’s collection owing to “an accusation of intellectual property violation.”
Before Ripps’ collection was taken from OpenSea, around 2,900 ETH worth $3.48 million were exchanged. Ripps told Decrypt that he would “hire Neil Strauss to write a book” on him using the proceeds from the collection.
Ripps stated in a May Instagram post that he designed the RR/BAYC NFTs in an attempt to “destroy” Yuga Labs.
He stated, “The work is a provocation, and it’s [sic] working to take down this company.”
Ripps did not react to Decrypt’s additional comment request.
The racist allegations against BAYC are months old and primarily based on cryptic allusions to minute aspects in the NFT collection’s artwork, the pseudonyms selected by the founders, and even seemingly insignificant social media postings by the founders or their families. Ripps asserts, for instance, that a reference to the phrase “cowabunga” in the Instagram bio of co-founder Garga’s wife is a veiled homage to the “alt-right.”
Today’s blog entry by Goner commented, “Garga’s wife is Mexican-American, and she likes the Ninja Turtles, like millions of people.”
Despite this, the allegations were revived last week after a YouTuber named Philion uploaded an hour-long video titled “BORED APE NAZI CLUB” that examined Ripps’ claims in depth. Currently, the video has approximately 850,000 views.
Today, Goner and Yuga Labs denounced the video and Ripps’ first blog post as elaborate trolling. We find it absurd that these conspiracy ideas have been able to grow. It demonstrates how powerful a deranged online troll can be,” Goner remarked.