The Social Lead for Yuga Labs, the powerhouse behind the illustrious Bored Ape Yacht Club, has resigned. This exit comes in the wake of a slew of racist and antisemitic tweets that surfaced, sparking a wave of social media backlash.
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Yuga Labs’ social lead resigns
The former Social Lead, Shpend Salihu, known as NGBxShpend on Twitter, parted ways with the $4 billion startup on Sunday. Salihu’s past tweets, derogatory toward various races and ethnoreligious groups, ignited controversy when they recirculated on Twitter.
“Distraction from the Club and what we’re all about,” Salihu expressed in his resignation tweet, acknowledging the tweets’ poor taste and apologizing for any offense caused. His resignation note underscored a stark contrast to the values he professed to stand for.
Yuga Labs, while confirming the resignation, kept a tight lid on comments regarding the details of the incident.
Salihu’s exit coincides with ApeFest, an annual festivity that this year took place in Hong Kong. Amidst the celebrations, reports emerged of attendees experiencing discomfort, potentially linked to UV light overexposure, adding a physical malaise to the ongoing reputational concerns.
NFT collectors and community members voiced their dissatisfaction with Salihu’s past behavior, calling into question the company’s vetting process for employees. VonDoom, an NFT collector, pointedly criticized the lack of background checks on social media history within Yuga Labs’ hiring practices.
Bored Ape Nazi Club?
Allegations of antisemitism and racism have previously marred the creators of BAYC, charges which the company has staunchly refuted. The founders have publicly addressed these accusations, emphasizing their diverse backgrounds and the lack of any discriminatory intent in their work.
The contention around Yuga Labs extended to legal action against Ryder Ripps and Jeremy Cahen, who the company sued over a copycat collection. The court’s decision favored Yuga Labs, landing a significant blow to the defendants, both financially and operationally.
However, the Ryder Ripps 1-hour video detailing Yuga Labs’ far-right and racist affiliations is still out there for everyone to see. Regardless of whether the video is nothing more than an unfounded conspiracy theory, the company still needs to restore its image following the resignation of Salihu.