Snoop Dogg, Madonna and several celebrities are being sued for promoting Bored Ape Yacht Club NFTs
A class action lawsuit filed Thursday alleges that Madonna, Jimmy Fallon and Paris Hilton, among other celebrities who promoted Bored Ape Yacht Club NFTs, were compensated for these promotions and did not disclose such agreements.
In the complaint, filed in the federal Central District Court of California, plaintiffs Adonis Real and Adam Titcher said they purchased NFTs made by Yuga Labsthe parent company of Bored Ape Yacht Club, among others NFT collections, after seeing the support of influential celebrities, which they claim was part of a “grand plan” to inflate the value of the NFTs.
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The complaint further alleges that Yuga Labs executives conspired with Hollywood talent manager Guy Oseary, who represents Bored Apes, and crypto trading app MoonPay to get celebrities to promote BAYC NFTs while hiding that they compensated those celebrities for promotion. Oseary and many of his clients were early investors in MoonPaywhich the complaint alleges handled the payments to celebrities, in crypto and in digital assets, for ostensibly “organic” promotion.
“The Conversation’s advertising campaign was wildly successful, generating billions of dollars in sales and resales. . . . The manufactured celebrities and misleading campaigns . . . were able to artificially increase interest in and price of the BAYC NFTs . . . causing investors to buy these losing investments at drastically inflated prices,” the complaint reads.
Among the examples cited in the complaint was when MoonPay posted a November 2021 clip from Post Malone’s music video for “One Right Now,” in which the rapper is seen purchasing a Bored Ape on the MoonPay app with musician The Weeknd. “This just happened,” read the MoonPay post on Twitter.
The plaintiffs’ lawyers claim that blockchain transactions show that Malone was transferred $1.4 million worth of ether in October 2021, which they claim is evidence that he was paid for his promotion of BAYC.
“MoonPay’s statement that ‘this just happened’ misleadingly suggested to investors that the promotion of MoonPay and the BAYC NFT collection in the so-called music video by Defendants Post and Tesfaye [the Weeknd] was something that occurred because of their genuine interest in the BAYC NFTs,” the complaint reads.
The complaint repeatedly singles out Oseary as a mastermind of sorts in the alleged scheme, saying he “saw an opportunity to profit by using his celebrity contacts to promote the sale of Yuga securities, and he took it.” The complaint further characterizes Oseary as a “fixer” who claims he contacted artist Ryder Ripps to tell him to stop claiming the Bored Ape Yacht club is embedded with neo-Nazi dog whistles. Ryder Ripps and Yuga Labs are currently involved in a court case over Ripps’ NFT collection RR/BAYC.
The celebrities named in the complaint include Oseary’s client Madonna, who discussed Bored Apes in a Rolling stones feature, Jimmy Fallon, who further promoted them and MoonPay The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallonas well as Justin Bieber, Gwyneth Paltrow, Serena Williams, Kevin Hart, Wardell Stephen Curry II and rapper Khalid promoted Apes.
A spokesperson for Yuga Labs declined to comment at this time. Reps for Justin Bieber, Snoop Dogg and the Weeknd did not return our sister publication Billboard‘s requests for comments.
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