Article Contributed by Isaiah McCall
It’s “NFT week” in New York City baby!
And we are off to a bad start, a tremendously bad start, with a new documentary coming out accusing Bored Apes of being Nazi propaganda.
In the one-hour documentary, YouTube filmmaker “Philion” calls out the Bored Ape Yacht Club for their supposed use of racist tropes and Nazi imagery.
The video dropped like a bombshell garnering hundreds of thousands of views and opening the door for “BurnBAYC” to trend on Twitter.
So —is there any truth to all of this?
Well, where there’s usually smoke, there’s also fire.
Bored Apes: Alt-Right Trolling Campaign
According to the film, Bored Apes are a “dog whistle.”
What’s a dog whistle? It’s a covert political campaign that only a few people can understand, in this case, it would be alt-right trollers from the infamous social media website 4chan.
Now without getting too bogged down in what 4chan is — Author Michael Malice has a great book about the site; it’s a much more complex take than how the mainstream media describes it — the website has its own “language.”
They use “Pepe” the frog as an avatar and they use “kek” instead of “lol,” just to name a few. All of this isn’t arbitrary either, “Kek” is the Egyptian God of Chaos who was also a frog.
Why explain all of this? Because Bored Apes are so similar to the alt-right trolls of yore that it’s impossible to ignore the comparisons.
Philion also points to a ubiquitous WW2 Nazi symbol that has an eerily similar image to that of Bored Ape Yacht Club:
This wouldn’t be the first time 4chan pranked a massive organization.
In 2018 4chan pranked Starbucks by stirring up a campaign on Twitter for free coffee reparations for Black Americans. The prank went so far that some Starbucks locations actually gave away free coffee.
A Call to Action
I implore you to watch at least the first 20 minutes of the film.
There are many connections to Bored Apes and 4chan.
In fact, it seems undeniable that some of the Bored Ape developers are 4chan users as some of their Twitter handles have been seen on 4chan message boards.
The film concludes with Philion making a call to action to his viewers:
“I want every celebrity actor, athlete and influencer to burn their fucking ape. I want to make such a fucking shit storm that everyone from Steph Curry to Post Malone to Jimmy Fallon is forced to act.”
This led to “BurnBAYC” to trend on Twitter and a burn address popping up for users to send their Bored Apes to.
Philion’s timing of the film was certainly deliberate as NFT events are supposed to take place in New York all this week.
The question now is, will anyone actually listen?
4chan: Their Response to the Accusation
I was surfing some message boards on 4chan to see if there was any communication about the film. There was.
/Pol/, which is 4chan’s most vile message board containing political discussion, had a post with this to say:
Greetings /pol/ today jewtuber Philion released this video. As part of Philion’s weird power trip he trying to get #BURNBAYC trending so that he can take down BAYC. As many of you know bored ape yacht club is one of the biggest trolling operations, and to show our support I suggest we get #ApesTogetherStrong and #SAVEBAYC trending. I also suggest we used the attached photo as our profile pictures.
Oh. My. God.
So it’s confirmed. Bored Apes are racist Nazi alt-right White supremacist propaganda. Fucking knew it.
Except they aren’t.
I’m glad I read Michael Malice’s book before this story broke because 4chan is not a single entity, it’s a platform. One thread, just like one Facebook post or one Tweet isn’t the full story. You have to dig deeper.
If there’s one thing 4chan likes to do besides trolling outsiders — they call them “normies” in their language — it is trolling each other. And that’s what the above thread is. Go read it again. It rings of sarcastic, irreverent, “oh no, we’re caught” kind of cheeky humor.
In fact, deeper in that same thread many users made fun of Philion for trying to uncover a “secret Nazi operation.”
“It’s ironic that this video is ‘look how easily the masses are influenced!’ Incoming “Do you know that Bored Apes are racist?” on every single social meeting you have in the next 6 or so months.”
And in another thread, someone on 4chan actually had to ask if they were responsible for this as they seem just as surprised by the accusation.
“Jesus christ, only 2 minutes in, I can’t watch any more of it. Is the gist that he’s trying to tie 4chan into some grand conspiracy of controlling the world’s NFT market? Makes sense why that shit is never shilled here then, right? NTF’s are a joke.”
— Anoynmous 4chan user
Bored Apes Aren’t Racist
I’ve seen flat-Earth videos that are more believable than Philion’s documentary.
There are so many pointless connections to Bored Apes and 4chan culture that I started drinking whiskey after 20 minutes just to last until the end.
For instance, at 9:16 Philion talks about how Bored Ape founders Yuga Labs didn’t actually get their name from a Zelda video game, as they’ve alleged, but got it from the phrase “Kali Yuga” which translates to “Age of darkness” in Hindu.
Do you see how fucking insane I sound explaining that?
Why couldn’t it have been the Zelda game?
Well, Philion says that the boss in that Zelda game was too obscure, and they would’ve been named after a more popular villain like Ganon.
But don’t video game nerds love obscure references? Can’t I make the case? Or, how about that Yuga, the boss in that Zelda game, her ability is to turn things into 2D art (NFTs)?
How I felt watching the documentary
The point is that flashy editing, six months of research, and an absurd video length have duped the majority of people into believing Philion’s argument.
(If this is all it takes for people to believe something then God help us)
It doesn’t help that Philion doesn’t hide his bias and malice for NFTs throughout the documentary. It’s not an objective take on Bored Apes at all, it’s one of those Schizophrenic conspiracy videos that makes anyone with an average IQ laugh.
And Bored Ape Yacht Club is probably now going to sue his ass for defamation.
I don’t even like Bored Apes. I don’t like NFTs much either. I even went to an NFT NYC event yesterday and it sucked hard.
But Philion’s video isn’t investigative journalism, it’s a hit piece. It’s building a strawman argument for an hour and shaking shiny keys for a bunch of babies who aren’t thinking critically at all.
He takes a few isolated incidents, blows them out of proportion and paints Bored Ape Yacht Club as a full-blown Nazi conspiracy.
- Does Bored Apes have users who go on 4chan? Yes.
- Does that mean they’re racist? No.
4chan is a huge platform — it has a section for auto, video games, anime, working out, and finance (which is where the BAYC members were spotted). The most problematic and racist board is /pol/ and they don’t seem to care about the fate of NFTs at all.
Don’t be fooled by Philion’s video, it’s not worth your time.
Unless that is you have a lot of whiskey on hand.
Ever since I was a child it was my dream to become a financial advisor. Unfortunately, it never came true. Therefore I am not a financial advisor and you should do your own research and not just listen to random people on the internet. Nothing contained in this publication should be construed as investment advice.
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