Gwyneth Paltrow, Stephen Curry, Snoop Dogg, Kevin Hart, Serena Williams, Future, Diplo, and more were also named as defendants in the suit, which alleges that Yuga Labs, the creators of the BAYC non-fungible tokens, enlisted the celebrities to help “artificially” increase the value of the NFTs, inevitably resulting in “staggering losses” for the buyers.
“Defendants’ promotional campaign was wildly successful, generating billions of dollars in sales and re-sales,” the lawsuit states, “The manufactured celebrity endorsements and misleading promotions regarding the launch of an entire BAYC ecosystem (the so-called Otherside metaverse) were able to artificially increase the interest in and price of the BAYC NFTs during the Relevant Period, causing investors to purchase these losing investments at drastically inflated prices.”
The class action lawsuit was filed in a California district court by lawyers for Adam Titcher and Adonis Real; the former claims they bought a pair of Yuga Labs NFTs, while the latter said they purchased Yuga Labs’ cryptocurrency ApeCoin under the pretense it would be needed to buy things in the greater BAYC “metaverse.”
The lawsuit also alleges that entertainment manager Guy Oseary formed a partnership with Yuga Labs to “leverage their vast network of A-list musicians, athletes, and celebrity clients,” with those celebrities discreetly paid for promotional work via the crypto firm MoonPay, which the lawsuit alleges is connected to Oseary’s Sound Ventures capital firm.
In the case of most of the celebrity defendants — including Bieber, the Weeknd, and Madonna — the lawsuit claims they acted as “a promotor for the Company and solicited sales of Yuga securities to the public.”
Additionally, the lawsuit names Jimmy Fallon and his Tonight Show production companies Electric Hot Dog and Universal Television as defendants due to his on-air segment where he and Paris Hilton discussed the BAYC NFTs; Hilton, another member of the Yacht Club, is also listed as a defendant. Adidas, who released a limited edition line dedicated to BAYC, are also a defendant.
The BAYC class action lawsuit is similar to the celebrity-aimed lawsuit against the “brand ambassadors” who helped promote the fallen cryptocurrency exchange FTX, including Larry David, Shaquille O’ Neal, Tom Brady, and Curry, who is the only defendant in both the BAYC and FTX lawsuits.