According to Ripps’ file, the artist asked the Los Angeles federal court to stop a trademark lawsuit brought against him by the BAYC creator. Bored Apes’ NFTs reportedly aimed to draw Yuga Labs’ attention to the alleged racism.
For context, Ripps has been a vocal critic of BAYC. The popular digital creator continued to launch his own NFT collection branded RR/BAYC. This included the same Bored Ape footage he didn’t buy. Yuga Labs later filed a class action lawsuit alleging it defrauded consumers into purchasing counterfeit Bored Ape NFTs.
His lawyer, Louis Tompros, on the other hand, argued that Ripps’ “artistic criticism” was “precisely the kind of artistic expression the First Amendment protected.”
Ripps Claims Against Yuga Labs
Ripps accused Yuga Labs and BAYC creators of racist overtones in their project in January this year. On top of that, the artist claimed that the BAYC founders had Nazi connections, and compared the BAYC logo to the Nazi Totenkopf emblem, saying that they were quite similar.
“Since December of 2021, I have been investigating the most prominent NFT project, Bored Ape Yacht Club, and its creators, Yuga Labs. Through months of intensive research, myself and other community members have discovered extensive connections between BAYC and subversive internet nazi troll culture. “
Ripps later went on to say that RR/BAYC is using satire and appropriation to protest and educate people about BAYC and NFTs. He also explained that the work is “an extension of and in the spirit of other artists who have worked within the field of appropriation art.”
It also claimed that the current ownership terms offered by Yuga Labs to BAYC token holders lack clarity and do not meet current copyright standards.
Following the lawsuit, Ripps accused the BAYC NFTs of containing encoded racist imagery, describing the creator’s lawsuit as an attempt to “silence an artist who uses his craft to appeal to a multi-billion-dollar company built on racist and neo-Nazi dog whistles.”
Yuga Labs’ Response to Nazi Claims
Ripps’ claims about BAYC founders’ alleged Nazi connection had sparked a controversy. While rubbishing the claims, the NFT marketplace called it a “crazy disinformation campaign” and “insanely far-fetched.”
Its co-founder Gordon Goner detailed that the founders of the platforms are a group of Jewish, Turkish, Pakistani, and Cuban friends and argued that it would be ridiculous to think that its members have anything to do with the Nazi movement.