A new film investigates the purported racist and white nationalist symbolism concealed in Yuga Labs’ most popular NFT collection.
An investigative YouTuber Philip Rusnack has created a film that reignites the debate over whether Yuga Labs’ Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) NFT collection contains racist symbolism and white supremacist esotericism.
Rusnack set out his case in an hour-long YouTube video broadcast Monday, arguing that BAYC is “one giant alt-right inside joke” employing words, symbols, and memes from the anonymous image board website 4chan.
He said that the NFT graphics depicted racist stereotypes of Black and Asian people and compared the iconography and language used by Yuga Labs and the BAYC to that of the Nazis.
An illustration often used by the claim’s proponents compares the BAYC insignia to the Nazi Totenkopf symbol used by the SS Panzer Division during World War II.
Rusnack concludes his video with a call to action, urging viewers to encourage BAYC NFT owners to “burn” their tokens by sending them to an invalid, unrecoverable wallet address.
“I demand that every famous actor, athlete, and influencer burn their ape. I want to create such a shitstorm that everyone from Steph Curry to Post Malone to Jimmy Fallon will be compelled to act.”
In early 2022, the artist Ryder Ripps produced a compilation of what he believes to be proof of Nazi iconography and antisemitism. The assertions of racial symbolism within the collection have been a significant issue on social media this year.
Ripps purchased the name gordongoner.com, the same alias chosen by Yuga Labs co-founder Wylie Aronow, to host a website containing countless instances of esoteric symbolism. The movie describes the data obtained by Rusnack and the investigation undertaken by Ripps.
In the video, Rusnack asserts that there comes a “point at which these connections are no longer just accidents,” adding.
Yuga Labs responded to some of the claims in January by tweeting that the Apes were used by many in the crypto sector, without expressly mentioning the matter. They are most likely referring to the crypto-slang phrase “ape in,” which is used to describe someone who invests excessively in coins or projects without doing sufficient investigation.
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