Is the Bored Ape Yacht Club secretly racist? We at Bitcoinist studied both sides of the case at the time, but the rumor persists. In fact, the internet seems to be even more obsessed now, and a lot has happened since we first analyzed it. For example, all the creators of BAYC have been doxxed and now live very public lives. Is this relevant to claims of racist iconography? It certainly is.
At the time, via Yuga Labs’ Twitter, the creators of the Bored Ape Yacht Club claimed to be “true friends from diverse backgrounds – Jewish, Cuban, Turkish, Pakistani”. Bitcoinist called this a “very compelling response” to allegations that the NFT Collection contains blatant Nazi iconography. However, we have presented the following caveat.
“The thing is, they’re still anonymous. So we can’t really know if what they say is true. Are they who they claim to be? Is the Bored Ape Yacht Club as innocent as it portrays? Or is there more to the story?
We find answers to these questions in Input Magazine profile of the two main creators, Greg Solano aka Gargamel and Wylie Aronow aka Gordon Goner. Since being suspected by Buzzfeed, the entire team behind the Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT collection has gone public.
Who else is behind the Bored Ape Yacht Club?
Back to profile:
“Zeshan Ali, 32, who went through No Sass, since shortened to Sass (“Here for the monkeys. Not for the sass,” reads his biography on the BAYC site), and Kerem Atalay, 31, AKA Emperor Tomato Ketchup (a name taken from an album by British-French indie pop band Stereolab).
Imput Magazine also identifies “Nicole Muniz, now CEO of Yuga” and a “visual artist known as Seneca, who worked on BAYC’s initial concept art”. The long article discusses the “interoperable metaverse” that Bored Ape Yacht Club is building, the two childhoods, the celebrity holders they hang out with, an illness, their friendship, the origin story of the NFT collection, Solidity, the Seth Green’s show, how “they don’t live glamorous lifestyles,” and doxxing. On this, the magazine quotes Ali.
“I remember being at ApeFest last year and relishing the fact that I could hang out with anyone, and no one knows who I am. Once the doxxing happened , I knew it wasn’t going to be the same.
big little lies
So far so good, the creators of The Bored Ape Yacht Club are doing a good job of standing up for themselves and proving that they are a multicultural bunch.
“Ali grew up on the west coast with immigrant parents from Guatemala and Pakistan who met while taking English lessons. Atalay’s parents are also immigrants, originally from Turkey; he says he had a “normal suburban upbringing”, mostly in the Washington, DC area.”
They even have an origin story for why they chose monkeys as the focus of their collection, which doesn’t involve “simianization.” This also matches what Yuga Labs said before.
“Aronow sent Solano ‘this whole essay’ outlining the idea, in which the name ‘Bored Ape Yacht Club’ appeared. “Being the great publisher that he is, [Solano] go, ‘That’s it. That’s the idea,” Aronow recalls. The concept has evolved into millionaires being veritable apes – in crypto, the term “singer” means compulsively investing in a new project without doing much research – living in the year 2031.”
However, the profile contains suspicious statements that make us doubt the whole story. Suspicious and useless statements, to make matters worse. For instance:
“Other prominent holders include Jimmy Fallon and Paris Hilton, who in January engaged in an infamous exchange about their monkeys on The Tonight Show. (Solano and Aronow, who say they were unaware of the Fallon segment beforehand, found it “very surreal.”)”
Come on…everything that happens in the late shows is scripted to death and part of a marketing plan. Chances are the creators of the Bored Ape Yacht Club not only knew about it, they probably cooked up the whole situation. And if they did that, who’s to say they didn’t organize the doxxing too? It certainly helped them and gave them material to defend against Ryder Ripps.
APE price chart on FTX | Source: APE/USD on TradingView.com
The Bored Ape Yacht Club VS. Ryder Rips
Since Bitcoinist Analysis of Racist Iconography Claims, Ryder Ripps has been busy. He created an NFT project “identical to the Bored Apes in May. The project generated an estimated profit of $1.8 million, according to Artnet. Of course, Yuga Labs sued him. The fact that he makes money while claiming the BAYC is riddled with Nazi symbolism doesn’t look good on any front.
However, the fact that the creators of the Bored Ape Yacht Club claim that its campaign against them is “all part of a scheme to generate interest in Ripps knockoffs”. The allegations are at least 9 months old. The artist’s RR/BAYC collection is a recent development on the case. Is it necessary that the creators of the Bored Ape Yacht Club lie like this?
In any case, Ryder Ripps’ rationale for creating the RR/BAYC collection is also questionable. Back to Input Magazine profile:
“Suggesting that I do things for money is an easy way to distract from [my] the validity of the criticism,” says Ripps, who called his collection a “protest and parody of BAYC.” In a video interview with The Defiant, Ripps called RR/BAYC, “probably the greatest work I’ve done.” He added, “It proves what an NFT is. It is provoking a business. It highlights a very important issue. It is to create an army of educators.
The BAYC defends itself. Type of…
What can the creators of Bored Ape Yacht Club say at this point? Not much, but still, their response in the profile leaves a lot to be desired. Solano says:
“It’s extremely obvious to anyone who knows our story how absurd this is. That said, the persistence, the viciousness of the troll – frankly, how bad it all is – it’s hard.
Even the author of the profile, who has been at his side throughout the article, notices that something is going on and calls his allegations “the party line”.
‘The founders say Ripps is a ‘vicious troll’ who is good at ‘picking examples’ to make them look bad in front of those who don’t know better. They evoke the party line, namely that Aronow and Oseary are Jewish, and that the three other founders of Yuga are children of immigrants.
It refers to “Guy Oseary, a veteran talent manager who represents Madonna and U2, has become a BAYC business partner.” The profile quotes him on this.
“At first I was really offended. I even reached out to [Ripps]. I thought by talking to him he would know that I would never be affiliated with something like that. You know, I’m Israeli, I’m Jewish.
At the end of the article, Solano and Aronow share the most honest quote and the best defense for the Bored Ape Yacht Club.
“It was always meant to be a fun, irreverent club,” says Solano. “It was never meant to be beyond any kind of criticism.”
“It’s hard not to offend everyone in the world,” adds Aronow.
So, does the Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT collection contain racist iconography? It’s up to you to decide.
Featured Image: Solano and Aronow, picture from the profile | Charts by TradingView