According to Ripps’ filing on Monday, the artist has asked a federal court in Los Angeles to stop a lawsuit brought against him by the creator of BAYC. He further argued that his NFTs of the monkeys were a kind of “appropriation art” intended to be criticized and protected by the First Amendment. His Bored Apes NFTs were reportedly intended to draw Yuga Labs’ attention to alleged racism. He also called it an “act of protest” against the NFT giant.
For context, Ripps has been a vocal critic of the BAYC. The popular digital creator then launched his own NFT collection under the name – RR/BAYC. It had identical Bored Ape images that he didn’t buy. Yuga Labs then fired back with a class action lawsuit for allegedly defrauding consumers to buy fake Bored Ape NFTs.
His attorney, Louis Tompros, on the other hand, argued that Ripps’ “artistic criticism” is “exactly the kind of artistic expression that the First Amendment protects.”
Ripps allegations against Yuga Labs
Ripps accused the makers of Yuga Labs and BAYC of racist undertones in their projects in January this year. As such, the artist claimed that BAYC’s founders have Nazi connections and compared the BAYC logo to the Totenkopf Nazi emblem, saying they were very similar.
On his official RR/BAYC website, Ripps stated:
“Since December 2021, I have been researching the most prominent NFT project, Bored Ape Yacht Club, and its creators, Yuga Labs. Through months of intense research, myself and other members of the community have uncovered extensive links between BAYC and the subversive Internet Nazi troll culture. “
Ripps went on to say that RR/BAYC is using satire and appropriation to protest and educate people about the BAYC and NFTs. He also explained that the work “is an extension of and in the spirit of other artists who have worked in the field of appropriation art.”
He also claimed that the existing current ownership terms submitted by Yuga Labs to BAYC token holders are unclear and do not meet current copyright standards.
After the lawsuit, Ripps BAYC accused NFTs of containing encoded racist imagery, calling the creator’s lawsuit an attempt to “silence an artist who used his craft to conjure up a billion-dollar company built on racist and racist images.” neo-Nazi dog whistles.”
Yuga Labs’ Response to Nazi Claims
Ripps’ claims about the BAYC founders’ alleged Nazi connection had sparked controversy. The NFT marketplace admittedly called the claims a “crazy disinformation campaign” and “insanely far-fetched.”
Co-founder Gordon Goner said the platforms’ founders are a group of Jewish, Turkish, Pakistani and Cuban friends and argued that it would be ridiculous to think the members have anything to do with the Nazi movement.
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