Jimmy Fallon, Justin Bieber, and 35 More Celebs are Sued Over BAYC Endorsements
Justin Bieber, Jimmy Fallon, Madonna, and 34 more celebs are named in a new class-action lawsuit against the Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) non-fungible token (NFT) founders.
The lawsuit alleged that the stars “misleadingly promoted” BAYC NFTs, resulting in buyers facing substantial financial losses.
Filed by John T. Jasnoch of Scott+Scott Attorneys at Law LLP, the lawsuit reads: “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.”
Furthermore, the lawsuit goes on to say that Yuga Labs and Guy Oseary were part of a “vast scheme” using MoonPay as a “front operation” to sell NFTs.
The lawsuit named a whopping 37 defendants. This includes Yuga Labs founders and leadership team, MoonPay and its CEO, Ivan Soto-Wright, and Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian.
Web3 investor, Guy Oseary; NFT artist, Beeple; and several Ape DAO board members are also named. A-list celebrities such as Gwyneth Paltrow, Paris Hilton, Snoop Dogg, Kevin Hart, Serena Williams, Steph Curry, and The Weeknd are some of the others on the list.
The lawsuit covers a lot – from Jimmy Fallon failing to disclose his investments in Moonpay when promoting BAYC and Moonpay on The Tonight Show, to Justin Bieber ‘receiving’ a Bored Ape which was promoted as one he bought himself.
“The truth is that the Company’s entire business model relies on using insidious marketing and promotional activities from A-list celebrities that are highly compensated (without disclosing such), to increase demand of the Yuga securities by convincing potential retail investors that the price of these digital assets would appreciate,” reads the complaint filed on Thursday in California federal court.
Oseary is allegedly linked to several celebrity promoters, including Bieber, Paltrow, and Hart, through their early investments in Moonpay. By increasing demand for BAYC NFTs and Yuga Labs’ Apecoin crypto tokens, the suit alleges they also increased demand for Moonpay.
“Oseary, the MoonPay Defendants, and the Promotor Defendants each shared the strong motive to use their influence to artificially create demand for the Yuga securities, which in turn would increase use of MoonPay’s crypto payment service to handle this new demand,” the complaint reads.
“At the same time, Oseary could also use MoonPay to obscure how he paid off his celebrity cohorts for their direct or off-label promotions of the Yuga Financial Products.”
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