Yuga Labs, the creator of the widely popular Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) non-fungible tokens (NFTs), is facing legal action over injuries sustained at ApeFest.
Asif Kamal, the founder and CEO of art technology company Artfi, announced on Twitter that he is holding Yuga Labs accountable for the Ape Fest incident in Hong Kong. Kamal mentioned that he is taking legal action to seek justice for those affected.
On November 7, Kamal shared a petition link calling for increased safety at public events. He shared his personal experience, stating, “I nearly lost my eyesight, enduring immense pain and anxiety.” The incident underscores the growing legal implications and responsibilities associated with hosting and organizing NFT-related events and gatherings.
In the comments, Asif Kamal explained that he and several others got infected due to UV lights at the Hong Kong event.
He mentioned, “I’m under constant medical supervision, and now my skin is starting to peel.”
ApeFest took place in Hong Kong from November 3-5. As the event unfolded, attendees began reporting symptoms such as eye pain, damaged vision, and burns. Concerned participants urged others experiencing similar issues to seek medical attention promptly, as there was a risk of potential eyesight loss. The incident highlights the importance of ensuring safety measures at events, especially those involving new technologies or installations like UV lights.
Attendees who consulted with their doctors reported that the injuries were caused by exposure to UV lights.
In a separate comment, Asif Kamal expressed his commitment to the Bored Ape community, stating, “I’ve got the Ape, will always hold it, love our community, and will keep backing them.” However, he emphasized his determination to ensure accountability for the incident, stating, “But I’ll make sure those responsible for the incident own up, no hiding!”
Artfi, the platform led by Kamal, focuses on fine art investments, allowing individuals to own a stake in artworks through fractionalization. The platform also includes a dedicated NFT marketplace. According to Kamal, the company is valued at $100 million. The incident at ApeFest underscores the need for organizers to prioritize safety measures, especially in events involving emerging technologies or unique installations.
Yuga Labs Responds
The Bored Ape Yacht Club Twitter account did not address the issue until November 6. At that time, the team acknowledged the “eye-related issues” and mentioned that they were actively reaching out to attendees to investigate the root causes.
The team stated, “Based on our estimates, we believe that much less than 1% of those attending and working the event had these symptoms.”
The delayed response and the reported health issues among attendees highlight the importance of swift communication and transparency in addressing incidents at events, especially those with potential health consequences. It also emphasizes the responsibility of event organizers to prioritize the safety and well-being of participants.
On Thursday, November 9, the Bored Ape Yacht Club shared a more detailed post, acknowledging that “UV-A emitting lights installed in one corner of the event was likely the cause of the reported issues related to attendees’ eyes and skin.”
The statement continued, “We continue to encourage anyone experiencing symptoms to seek medical attention and share these findings with their medical provider.” Additionally, the team expressed their commitment to supporting the recovery of anyone affected.
However, the specifics of how the company plans to provide support remain unclear, especially considering some attendees have reported accumulating medical bills. The incident underscores the importance of transparent communication, accountability, and ensuring that proper safety measures are in place at events.