Actor Elijah Wood, best known for his depiction of Heroic Frodo Baggins in The Lord of the Rings trilogy came under fire over a recent NFT (Non-Fungible Tokens) purchase.
In a now-deleted tweet, Wood wrote that he was:” Loving my Golden Zombie! Thank you, @JungleFreaksNFT @TrosleyNFT !!”
The Zombie bust itself was not controversial but the artist who created it has a murky past. George Trosley is the 74-year-old artist behind Jungle Freaks, a collection of 10,000 hand-drawn zombies and genetically enhanced gorillas at war against each other in a post-apocalyptic 2077. The Jungle Freaks site promotes Trosley as a “legendary” former cartoonist for Hustler magazine. After Wood tweeted, a number of Twitter users pointed out the artist had created racist depictions of people of colour in some of his past work.
On Halloween, Wood released a statement saying he had sold the artwork: “After previously purchasing some NFTs, as well as being gifted one, I was made aware of some of the artist’s prior disturbing cartoons. Upon learning this, I immediately sold the NFTs as I wholly denounce any form of racism,” he wrote in the statement.
He said he donated the proceeds from the sale of the NFTs to charities including Black Lives Matter.
The backlash has also caused others to sell their Trosley NFTs and the brand experienced a 65 per cent drop in its average sale price, according to Input who first reported on the backlash.
The Trosley’s apologise
In response to the criticism, Trosley’s son, George III, issued a statement saying that the cartoons his father drew decades ago are horrible. “The Trosley Family does not support or condone racism,” the statement reads. “My father has expressed to me how ashamed he is for the cartoons man have seen. This project and NF space as a whole has allowed my father an opportunity to redeem himself.”
Father and son also issued a statement on YouTube where they say the images were taken out of context. Images such as the one shown below:
Trosley senior said when he was exclusively contracted by Hustler, he was told to create cartoons that were as outrageous as possible, “calling attention to social injustices in America and these cartoons depict that.”