A proposed class-action lawsuit has been filed against a slew of celebrities, including Justin Bieber, Madonna, Paris Hilton, and Kevin Hart, for their role in allegedly promoting misleading non-fungible token (NFT) endorsements.
The suit was filed on Dec. 8 in a Los Angeles court by Adonis Real and Adam Titcher, who have been investing since April 2021 in NFTs from Yuga Labs, a company which owns the popular Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) NFT collection.
According to Real and Titcher, the widespread celebrity promotion of BAYC NFTs artificially increased the interest and price of the digital works, causing investors to purchase them at “drastically inflated prices.”
Other stars named in the lawsuit include Kevin Hart, Gwyneth Paltrow, Serena Williams and her husband Alexis Ohanian, a co-founder of Reddit. Amy Wu, a former investor with FTX, the now-bankrupt crypto exchange, was also named as a defendant.
Celebrities didn’t reveal that they were actually financially compensated for the endorsements, according to the plaintiffs, who are seeking at least $5 million. The complaint alleges that stars were secretly paid by Guy Oseary, the talent manager for Madonna and U2 , through a crypto payment platform called Moonpay.
“In our view, these claims are opportunistic and parasitic. We strongly believe that they are without merit, and look forward to proving as much,” said Yuga Labs in a statement.
This isn’t the first time celebrities have gotten in legal trouble over their involvement with cryptocurrency. In November, stars like Tom Brady, Gisele Bundchen and Larry David were sued for pushing FTX through advertisements.