By Shanti Escalante-De Mattei | ART News
A class action filed Thursday alleges that Madonna, Jimmy Fallon, and Paris Hilton, among other celebrities who promoted Bored Ape Yacht Club NFTs, were compensated for those promotions and did not disclose such deals.
In the complaint, filed to the federal Central Disrict Court of California, plaintiffs Adonis Real and Adam Titcher said they purchased NFTs made by Yuga Labs, the parent company of Bored Ape Yacht Club, among other NFT collections, after seeing the endorsement of influential celebrities, who they claim were part of a “vast scheme” to inflate the value of the NFTs.
The complaint further alleges that Yuga Labs executives conspired with Hollywood talent manager Guy Oseary, who represents Bored Apes, and the crypto-trading app Moonpay to get celebrities to promote BAYC NFTs while hiding that they were compensating those celebrities for promotion. Oseary and many of his clients were early investors in MoonPay, which the complaint alleges handled the payments to celebrities, in crypto and in digital assets, for seemingly “organic” promotion.
“Defendants’ promotional campaign was wildly successful, generating billions of dollars in sales and re-sales … The manufactured celebrity endorsements and misleading promotions … were able to artificially increase the interest in and price of the BAYC NFTs…, causing investors to purchase these losing investments at drastically inflated prices,” the complaint reads.