Hacktivist group Anonymous in a 2-minute 32-second YouTube clip released on Sunday on their channel, revealed that they would investigate the creators of the Bored Ape Yacht Club collection. It comes as accusations persist that Nazi symbolism, racist representations, and anti-semitic ideas have been integrated into the collection.
“…anonymous wants to take the time to open a discussion about the BAYC collection. Along with the awareness of enthusiasts and the intent of its creators. We don’t believe in half measures and want to be thorough with our investigation. We anticipate that this investigation may very well take several months, at minimum and with new accusations surfacing daily, we have our work cut out for us,” the group said, declaring its intent.
Notably, the concerns surrounding the popular NFT collection first came to light in January. American Artist Ryder Ripps, in a series of tweets, drew links between the collection and Nazi symbolism. Consequently, Ripps accused Yuga Labs, the collection’s creators, of employing racist and Nazi symbolism in their art.
In June, these accusations gained steam again after YouTuber Philip Rusnack, known as Philion, released an hour-long video on YouTube claiming that the NFT collection featured racist distorted representations of Asians and Blacks and Nazi symbolism. In his video, Rusnack urged owners of the NFTs to burn their tokens to stand against these ideas.
Yuga Labs, on their part, in response to these claims, released a blog post titled A letter from the Founders denouncing the claims as wild conspiracy theories. Furthermore, the firm claimed that Ripps is fueling the accusations to drive sales for his NFT collection, which features copies of BAYC NFTs. Notably, Ripps, on his part, says he has “recontextualized” these pieces to take out the racist and Nazi undertone.
Meanwhile, in its video, Anonymous appears to laud the efforts of Ripps and Philion as it says, “We also want to commend those before us who have paved the path by bringing these heinous accusations to life.” Notably, the group says it will be releasing the findings of its investigation to the public and in confidence to enthusiasts and collectors.
The video released by Anonymous to its over 300k subscribers has already garnered 40k views. Notably, despite these allegations, A-list celebrities continue to associate themselves with the collection, as famous rappers like Eminem and Snoop Dogg use them in their videos. CoinGecko data shows that the floor price for one of the famous apes is about 78.69 ETH ($157,676.51).