Bored Ape NFT Holder Threatens Legal Action Over ApeFest Eye Injuries
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Bored Ape NFT Holder Threatens Legal Action Over ApeFest Eye Injuries

Asif Kamal, founder and CEO of art technology business Artfi, told Decrypt that his company has served legal notice on Yuga Labs, the maker of the Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC), after incurring an eye infection and face burns at ApeFest last week in Hong Kong.

Kamal’s decision to file a lawsuit comes after reports of ApeFest attendees suffering from eye ailments, allegedly as a result of an incorrect lighting arrangement at the festival’s site.

“I don’t want the price of Apes, [the BAYC] community, Yuga Labs, or anyone who has supported this Web3 ecosystem to suffer,” he said. “But neglecting it is something that has offended me so much.”

Following reports of significant eye pain among ApeFest attendees, Yuga told Decrypt on Monday that it was still examining the problem and “taking it seriously.” Twitter users speculated that UV-C disinfection lamps were utilized instead of blacklights to light the three-day event.

Yuga Labs did not immediately respond to Decrypt’s request for comment.

In response to his experience last week, which Kamal described as a brief visit to Hong Kong’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital, where English-speaking staff was frustratingly rare, Artfi said he emailed Yuga a “legal notice.” The letter to Yuga was described by Kamal as the “first step toward suing them.”

“I felt helpless,” he said of his hospital trip, where medical staff attached a device to his face that regularly flushed his eyes with a cold solution. “I felt blind for hours, and I felt vulnerable.”

Yuga estimated that “much less than 1%” of ApeFest’s 2,250 guests exhibited symptoms suggestive of eye problems in a statement issued on Monday. Nonetheless, it advised “anybody who feels them” to seek medical assistance as a precaution.

During a video interview with Decrypt on Wednesday, the 33-year-old CEO sported a pair of Marc Jacob sunglasses. Photos he published the day before showed a piece of peeling skin on his brow. 

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“It’s better than the first day, but not 100%,” Kamal said of his vision, adding that it’s still foggy and he has “small darts” in the corner of one eye.

Kamal claimed to own a Mutant Ape before traveling to Hong Kong for Yuga’s yearly event for Bored Ape Yacht Club and Mutant Ape Yacht Club NFT owners. Kamal stated that he purchased a $60,000 Bored Ape in front of BAYC co-founder Greg “Garga” Solano in order “to support the community.”

Kamal claims that two other ApeFest goers he knows are experiencing identical symptoms. And he expects that in the future, Yuga would take safety precautions at its events.

“You cannot neglect human safety […] when the people in your community have supported you to make billions of dollars,” he said, adding that it’s called “ApeFest, but humans are there.”

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