Bored Ape Yacht Club accused of releasing racist NFT collection

Bored Ape Yacht Club accused of releasing racist NFT collection
Bored Ape Yacht Club is accused of releasing a racist NFT collection

Key Takeaways

  • Bored Ape Yacht Club continues to face accusations of racims after artist Ryder Ripps kickstarted a debate
  • For the past few days, Twitter has been discussing if the BAYC project has hidden Nazi symobolisms
  • Yuga Labs has since denied accusations

YEREVAN (CoinChapter.com) Earlier this year, artist and designer Ryder Ripps accused Yuga Labs of racism and supporting white supremacy. Yuga Labs is the team behind the famous nonfungible token (NFT) project Bored Ape YC and other NFTs of the Ape Family.

The accusation kickstarted a widely discussed debate on social media, resulting in some users joining the hunt for alt-right symbols in the iconic NFTs.

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What are the signs of Bored Ape YC racism? 

According to Ryder Ripps, the BAYC project reeks of racism. To make a case for himself, he has pulled out some pointers from the various NFTs Yuga Labs has produced.

But before we get to the NFTs, let us look at the name of the project itself. Allegedly, “Yuga Labs,” which is the name of the company that created BAYC, refers to the “Kali Yuga,” a term from Hinduism used by racist groups. 

According to Ripps, white supremacists often use the phrase “Surf The Kali Yuga,” code for starting a racial conflict.

Even the name of the project, Bored Ape Yacht Club seems to be a reference to the “Kali Yuga Surf Club.” Ripps further points out the skull logo of BAYC, which seems to match that of the Nazi Totenkopf skull. SS-Panzerdivision Totenkopf was an elite division of the Waffen-SS of Nazi Germany during World War II.

In an extensive interview with KnowYourMeme, Ripps argued that one of the co-founders of BAYC uses the handle Gargamel. 

Gargamel is a character from the animated cartoon series Smurfs, widely considered to represent a Jewish person. Years back, the people accused the series of anti-Semitism. He has since changed his name to Garga.eth on Twitter.

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Is Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT racist? 

Rolling Stone partnered with Bored Ape Yacht Club to debut NFT records. One of the BAYC Rolling Stone covers features an ape wearing an admiral hat with a skull. According to the analysis of Ripps, the Nazis were the only militia known to sport a skull on the hat. 

Moreover, upon zooming in the image, one can see rats gathered around gold. Anti-Semitic people regularly compare Jews to rats. During the Holocaust, Nazis referred to Jews as rats. Because of their business acumen, people regularly associate Jews with gold.

Additionally, some Apes in the BAYC NFTs wear Hawaiian shirts, which is a known symbol of the Boogaloo movement.

The African American community has also taken an issue with the project, accusing BAYC of using Black Apes to racistically depict them. Racist groups have repeatedly compared Black people have to apes and monkeys, and BAYC seems to be carrying that trend forward.

Ryder Ripps also pointed out that Bored Ape Yacht Club “officially launched” on April 30th, on the date of Hitler’s death. 

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Bored Ape Yacht Club responds to racist allegations

As the accusations about Bored Ape Yacht Club founders potentially being Nazi sympathizers mounted, the team decided to respond. In effect, Yuga Labs decried all claims, clarifying that none of their projects has racist undertones.

Two days later, Bored Ape NFT holder GeneralDegener8 used humor to try to push the story under the rug. His Twitter profile features an ape with a Prussian Pickelhaube helmet used in WW1. People consider that particular BAYC NFT as a premeditated symbolism.

A Bored Ape YC depicting a Prussian Helmet amid racism accusations.
Credit: General Degenerpe on Twitter

Whether or not the Bored Ape Yacht Club can be accused of racism, is still early to say. However, the debate about them being Nazi sympathizers still continues to rage. If it becomes bigger and gathers storm, we may see celebrities distancing themselves from it, bringing the project to a screeching halt. So, are Bored Apes racist? We will leave that to you. 

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