Rusnack set out his case in an hour-long video posted to YouTube on Monday, arguing that BAYC is “one giant alt-right inside joke” that uses language, symbols, and memes from the anonymous image board website 4Chan.
Incorporates racist iconography and white supremacist
The argument over whether Yuga Labs’ flagship Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) nonfungible token (NFT) collection incorporates racist iconography and white supremacist esotericism has been renewed by a video posted by YouTuber Philip Rusnack, AKA Philion.
He said that the NFT graphics included racist stereotypes of Black and Asian people, and drew parallels between Yuga Labs and the BAYC’s symbolism and vocabulary and those of the Nazis.
For example, a popular example cited by proponents of the claims compares the BAYC insignia to the Nazi Totenkopf symbol used by the SS Panzer Division during WWII.
Rusnack makes a call to action at the end of the video, asking his viewers to pressure BAYC NFT owners to “burn” their tokens by sending them to an unusable and unrecoverable wallet address.
Artist Ryder Ripps view on this
Ripps purchased the name gordongoner.com, the same pseudonymous identity used by Yuga Labs co-founder Wylie Aronow, to host a site dedicated to esoteric symbology.
Artist Ryder Ripps presented a compilation of what he thinks is evidence of Nazi iconography and antisemitism in early 2022, and the charges of racial symbolism within the collection became a trending topic on social media.
There comes a “point at which these connections are no longer coincidences,” according to Rusnack in the video.
Yuga Labs response to allegations
Yuga Labs reacted to some of the charges without directly mentioning the topic, tweeting in January that the Apes were used by many in the crypto world to refer to themselves.
Probably in reference to the crypto-slang term “ape in,” which refers to someone who invests extensively in coins or projects without doing any previous study.
Mark Pitcavage, a well-known extremism expert and a senior researcher at the Anti-Defamation League’s (ADL) Center for Extremism told Input that he found no connection between the logo and the Totenkopf.
Pitcavage did agree, however, that some NFT qualities and features were significant concerns, such as the “hip hop” trait with a gold chain and the “sushi chef headband” being stereotypes of Black culture and the “sushi chef headband” being stereotypes of Asian culture.
However, Pitcavage and another ADL researcher, Carla Hill, believe Ripps’ findings do not lead to a distinct group of radicals.
Ripps has been accused of using his collected research to promote his own BAYC derivative NFT collection, RR/BAYC, which includes over 6,000 NFTs based on the original collection.
The collection, according to Ripps, is a parody and protest intended to educate people about the BAYC’s suspected extremist affiliations.
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