Given that it is arguably the most famous NFT collection in the world, it is hard for the Bored Ape Yacht Club to not have to deal with some controversy. Whether this is Bill Gates taking a dig at them or their social media accounts being targeted by hackers, the Bored Ape Club has seen its fair share of controversy.
But one recent controversy, which accuses the collection of having racist undertones and images, has become significant enough that one of the founders of the Bored Ape Club has responded directly.
Clearing the Air
In a June 24, 2022, Medium post, Gordon Goner, one of the founders of the Bored Ape Club addressed some of these accusations.
“As you may have heard, we’ve become the target of a crazy disinformation campaign accusing us — a group of Jewish, Turkish, Pakistani, and Cuban friends — of being super-secret Nazis,” the post began with.
The conspiracy theories of the Bored Ape Club founders and the images of the NFTs being racist were first started by a man named Ryder Ripp. According to Goner, whose real name is Wylie Aronow, the founders had first taken to ignoring the accusations until they heard a podcaster they respect speak on them.
To combat these claims, Goner broke down and then debunked many of them. For example, the claim that the name ‘apes’ was racist. According to Goner, this is not racist but a reference to those within the crypto industry calling themselves apes.
“We liked the idea of creating a whole collection around apes who became so wealthy because of crypto’s rise, that they became extremely . . . bored. What is a bored ape to do? Perhaps retreat to a secretive club in the swamp,” he says.
As for the images of the NFTs, which always feature an ape looking very bored, he says that this was in an attempt to not take themselves too seriously. As he puts it, the ape club in the swamp is falling apart and all the apes are bored to death and thus, the trend was formed.
To back this up, Goner attached the screenshot of an email form when the NFTs were first being designed. These show that the images took inspiration from many sub-cultures such as punk, streetwear, skate references, maritime flags and pennants.
Other claims were explained in detail in the Medium post, such as the inspiration behind Yuga Labs, the founders’ pseudonyms, and so on.
In Their Defense
The Bored Ape Club has successfully cut to the heart of online culture in the time that it has existed. As such, its founders know first-hand the power of communities sharing information, whether or not it is true. Goner acknowledged that the reason for this post was to clear up any misinformation before it is taken as fact.
“Overall, we think it’s crazy that these conspiracy theories have been able to proliferate. It really shows the power that a demented troll on the internet can have.,” he says.