Remember when Jimmy Fallon and Paris Hilton sat on his show listlessly blathering on about their apes? They among various other celebrities are being sued for what was, allegedly, undisclosed and paid-for promotion of Bored Ape Yacht Club and other crypto wheezes at the peak of the NFT hype cycle. They pumped it, the lawsuit contends, but when the inevitable crash came it wasn't them holding the bag.
The class action lawsuit claims, "this purported interest in" Bored Apes "by high-profile taste makers was entirely manufactured by [Hollywood agent Guy] Oseary at the behest of" Yuga Labs. "In order to make the promotion of, and subsequent interest in, the BAYC NFTs appear to be organic (as opposed to being solely the result of a paid promotion), the Company needed a way to discreetly pay their celebrity cohorts." The suit alleges they did this through MoonPay.
When Jimmy Fallon introduced his audience to crypto, he also presented a frictionless way to buy in: MoonPay, a payments company that allows customers to buy crypto through most major payment systems like with a credit card. In November 2021, Fallon said on "The Tonight Show" that he'd bought his first NFT through MoonPay. "MoonPay? MoonPay! I did my homework — Moonpay, which is like PayPal but for crypto," Fallon said. The following January, when Hilton showed her ape on the show, she said, "You said you got it on MoonPay, so I went and I copied you."
Just look at this Paltrow tweet! As if she would randomly come up with this.
The likelihood that these lawsuits will force private correspondence into the public record has also seemed to reignite those long-held suspicions that the ape designs were "ironic racism" of the Internet kind where the irony turns out to be a fig leaf.
"Think if you were a racist, like 'Guess what I'm gonna do? I'mma get Black people to love monkeys so much that they gonna buy them, wear them on their neck… go to something called ApeFest and they're gonna like it!' Wouldn't that sound funny?" Dash said on the podcast. "That's what's happening."
Dash told CNN he hadn't intended to target Yuga directly. But he'd started to wonder if he was being trolled, given the ubiquity of apes in crypto. "Racism is different these days — you can't be so overt about it. You have to kind of troll," Dash said.
This week Yuga agreed to settle a lawsuit with a developer who worked with Ripps, with the developer agreeing to pay them $25,000 and saying he would reject all disparaging statements against Yuga Labs.
This week Yuga co-founder Wylie Aronow published a 24-page letter explaining that he was stepping back from the company and addressing widespread rumors that the company and its products were connected to the alt-right.