The company behind the popular non-fungible token (NFT) collection Bored Ape Yacht Club, Yuga Labs, addressed the rumors around the alleged connection with racist and Nazi affiliation. The company denied the rumors and called them “crazy disinformation” and “bullshit”.
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The company claims it has ties with the Jewish, Cuban, Pakistani, and other communities, and claims the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), an organization created in 1913 to “stop the defamation of the Jewish people”, has apparently supported them. Yuga Labs said:
We’ve not responded in further detail to these allegations because frankly they are insanely far-fetched. That said, we woke up this morning to a podcaster we respect talking about this conspiracy theory and that was pretty surreal. Made us feel like it was time to come out and put an end to all this.
The company clarified that the term “Ape”, used as part of the critics’ argument to classify Bored Ape Yacht Club as “racist”, comes from the crypto community. Often used to describe someone that trades with digital assets with low-risk management.
In addition, the company claims there are other popular NFT collections using “Apes” as part of their iconography. The company claims the collection has “never wanted to take” itself “too seriously” and designed its logo, one of the main components behind the rumors, and iconography inspired by “some vintage yacht club flag we found”.
In that sense, the company attends to show that there is no hiding message or puzzle behind their logos, the NFT collection, or anything related to Bored Ape Yacht Club, as the rumors claims. They added:
None of the founders are good at ciphers or puzzles. We’re awful at them. We had to bring in professional help in the form of a company called Exaltation of Larks (by a brilliant guy named Greg Pliska) to help create the BAYC treasure hunt.
Is There Evidence To Support The Accusation Against The Bored Ape Collection And Yuga Labs?
Yuga Labs believes the rumors have been able to proliferate because of “trolls on the internet” and their power. They thanked the community for rallying behind them amid what they called “nonsense”.
We summarized the events that lead to the creation of these rumors in this article. The evidence that could support the accusations against Yuga Labs and the Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT collection seems subjective and open to interpretation.
They are based on the name of the company behind the collection Yuga Labs, and the name of the collection itself, according to the people that started the rumors, these are referring to alleged racist practices (calling a person an “ape”) and to alt-right movements and Nazi literature referring to the “Kali Yuga”.
As our writer explained, the term Yuga “comes from Hinduism and is hundreds of years old”. It is a generic word that in itself only means “epoch”. Yuga Labs claims they chose the name because of one of their favorite video games, “The Legend of Zelda”. Via Twitter, they wrote:
We’re nerds, and Yuga is the name of a villain in Zelda whose ability is that he can turn himself and others into 2D art. Made sense for an NFT company.
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The critics have also pointed to the iconography used in this NFT collection, and to certain events to support their arguments. But there doesn’t seem to be anything solid or conclusive, and Yuga Labs continues to deny the rumors and accusations. As our writer said at the time, people have to look at the evidence and decide on their own.