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Justin Bieber, Paris Hilton, and Serena Williams Among 37 To Face Lawsuit For Endorsing Bored Ape Yacht Club NFTs Petitioners have alleged the involvement of the celebrities in a bid to inflate the prices of these NFTs to project an influential rise in status and opportunities

By Paromita Gupta

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Jimmy Fallon, Gwyneth Paltrow, Kevin Hart, DJ Khaled, Madonna, Steph Curry, Post Malone, The Weeknd, Justin Bieber, Paris Hilton, and Serena Williams. Apart from being global names well-known for their art and skills, there is another thing connecting them all. These celebrities are being sued by the Bored Ape Yacht Club investors for buying BAYC non-fungible tokens (NFTs).

On December 9, a lawsuit was filed Scott+Scott Attorneys at Law LLP on behalf of Adonis Real and Adam Titcher against 37 individuals, including the names mentioned above, for monetary damages to themselves and others affected by the alleged fraud.

Real and Titcher claim that these celebrities were a part of a campaign to increase revenue to touch billions, which in turn lead to inflating of interest and prices of the BAYC NFTs. They named Guy Oseary, a talent manager handling portfolios of Madonna, U2 and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, as the primary accused in the lawsuit. In October 2021, Oseary signed a representation deal with BAYC's creators, Yuga Labs. He is also accused of orchestrating a professional front of MoonPay, a crypto-payment platform. The platform is advertised as a preferred exchange by celebrities and other investors. However, the complaint states that it was being used to compensate for endorsements done by celebrities for Yuga Labs NFTs without disclosing information to its investors.

Amy Wu, FTX's former head of commercial initiatives and board member of Ape DAO, was also named in the lawsuit.

"The exclusiveness of BAYC membership was entirely based on the inclusion and endorsements of highly influential celebrities," the lawsuit stated. BAYC NFTs worked on the perception that joining the club by buying an NFT was going to give investors lucrative benefits and exclusive opportunities.

The lawsuit went on to add that "at no point did any of the defendants register these securities with the SEC."

BAYC NFTs comprises 10,000 unique digital arts with an average price of $89.9k. Ten per cent of its NFTs are sold for $82.1k or less with the highest ten per cent being sold for $90k or higher. The data is complied based on last seven days activity by NFT stats.

In January 2022, Bieber announced he had purchased a BAYC NFT for a whopping $1.3 million or 500 ETH. The same NFT was reported to be priced at $69,800 or 52.8 ETH in November 2022.

Real and Titcher are demanding a jury trial on the filed charges and requesting compensation for damages faced by anyone who suffered financial loss from purchasing BAYC NFTs starting from April 23rd, 2021.

Paromita Gupta

Features Writer with Entrepreneur India

Covering news and trends in AI and Metaverse segments. An avid book reader running her personal blog on the side. You may reach me at paromita@entrepreneurindia.com. 
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