Remember Ryder Ripps? He is the artist who was sued by Yuga Labs, the parent company for the Bored Ape Yacht Club, for creating RR/BAYC, which they call a knock-off of the original Bored Ape NFTs. He is also the man who alleges that the Bored Ape Club and its founders have Nazi affiliations, allegations that have been repeatedly denied.
Needless to say, Ryder does not have the most cordial relationship with Yuga Labs. Now, this relationship is getting even more strained as Ryder has hit back against the lawsuit, claiming that it is a bid to silence him.
Ryder Fights Back
According to Ryder’s legal team, Yuga Labs has launched this lawsuit as a way to silence him for speaking out about the alleged Nazi affiliations within the Bored Ape Club. This, they claim, constitutes a strategic lawsuit against public participation (SLAPP) and as such, the lawsuit against Ryder should be dismissed.
The current suit brought forward by Yuga Labs, however, seems to be focused more on the NFT collection that Ryder released. The collection, called RR/BAYC, is similar to the Bored Ape Yacht Club in its name and appearance and Yuga Labs claims that this is deliberate. As per court documents, they claim that the collection was designed to trick people into buying its NFTs thinking they were buying actual Bored Ape assets.
So far, Ryder has reportedly made around $1.6 million selling thousands of them. But his legal team denies this allegation, saying that the RR/BAYC collection is appropriation and not an infringement of copyright.
On the site for the collection, a statement also read that it is “satire and appropriation to protest and educate people regarding The Bored Ape Yacht Club and the framework of NFTs.”
The allegations of racism against the Bored Ape Club have been a long-running issue for its fans and creators. Though they have been repeatedly dismissed (with an in-depth blog post being released earlier this year debunking all the claims), they continue to persist. Just this week, the hacktivist groups Anonymous even announced that they would be investigating the Bored Ape Club to confirm or debunk these rumours.
While that is going on, it seems Yuga Labs’ battle with Ryder, who confirmed to ARTNews that he will be seeking legal fees, will continue.
Bored Apes and Rumours
While the Bored Ape NFT collection has been and likely will continue to be the subject of rumours, it has remained the most profitable NFT collection in the world. From celebrities who buy them partially as a status symbol to being very recognizable, even by those who aren’t into NFTs, they have continued to dominate the sector.
This has all happened even as the collection has been accused of having Nazi imagery, along with other allegations. If they are proven to have any merit, it will be interesting to see the effect that would have on both sales and their cultural relevance.