Seems like a good old fashionable celebrity endorsement just got a little tougher when it comes to the digital market these days.
Less than a month after Larry David, Tom Brady Gisele Bundchen and Stephen Curry were sued for bringing their high-paying star power to the launch of now-collapsed cryptocurrency firm FTX, a new class action lawsuit filed in federal court aims to take the Golden State Warrior superstar and a pantheon of big names to the financial stake on the Bored Ape Yacht Club NFTs for hidden gains.
It’s action that turns uneasy on not just Curry, but also Kevin Hart, Madonna, Jimmy Fallon, Justin Bieber, Paris Hilton, Serena Williams, DJ Khaled, Gwyneth Paltrow, and more. In addition to Universal TV also being named as a defendant, high profile music executive Guy Oseary is specified as the mastermind behind the entire alleged big money scam.
“Defendants’ promotional campaign was a resounding success, generating billions of dollars in sales and resales,” says Adonis Real and Adam Titcher’s lawsuit filed Dec. 8 in the U.S. District Court in California. “Fabricated celebrity mentions and misleading promotions regarding the launch of an entire BAYC ecosystem (the so-called Otherside metaverse) may have artificially increased the interest and price of BAYC NFTs during the relevant period, forcing investors to buy these losing investments at vastly inflated prices,” adds the jury trial seeking a 10-claim lawsuit (read it here).
Basically, on their various platforms, through public statements and in Fallon’s case on The show tonight In late November 2021, celebrities praised Yuga Labs for supporting BAYC NFTs to the public by claiming to be customers themselves. Now, the appeal of non-fungible tokens may have waned significantly (i.e. taken a nose dive) over the past few months, but for BAYC buyers who jumped on board last year, they quickly turned out to be “losing investments at vastly inflated prices”.
“The truth is that the company’s entire business model relies on the use of insidious high-profile celebrity marketing and promotional activities that are highly compensated (without disclosing them), to increase demand for Yuga titles by convincing potential investors that the price of these digital assets would appreciate,” the 95-page fraud complaint states.
With Oseary-backed crypto firm Moonpay working with Yuga to covertly make payments to promote A-rated talent, the whole scheme saw Hart, Fallon, Paltrow give NFTs BAYC the stamp of approval without that celebrities only reveal the often high compensation they received. .
“During the Class Period, the Defendants engaged in a plan, scheme, conspiracy and course of conduct whereby they knowingly or recklessly engaged in acts, transactions, practices and business activities that acted as fraud and deceit on plaintiffs and other class members,” the document states. “In truth, Executive Defendants and Oseary used their ties to MoonPay and its service as a covert way to compensate Promoter Defendants for their promotions of BAYC NFTs without disclosing it to unsuspecting investors,” he adds.
A spokesperson for Universal TV, owned by Comcast, said the company is not commenting on legal issues. “In our view, these claims are opportunistic and parasitic,” a Yuga Labs spokesperson said in a statement today. “We strongly believe they are without merit, and we look forward to proving it.”
Represented by San Diego-based attorney John T. Jasnoch, plaintiffs Real and Titcher set the potential class in what could be a very costly lawsuit like everyone who invested in “Yuga Financial Products” between April 23 2021 and now. They seek “actual, general, special, incidental, statutory, punitive and consequential damages and restitution.”
And it will be cold cash printed by the US Treasury, not crypto, if you know what I mean?
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