Freaky Week for Jungle Freaks

Freaky Week for Jungle Freaks

The popular collection Jungle Freaks by Trosley was under the spotlight for all the wrong reasons this week. NFT Twitter reacted harshly and with a zero-tolerance policy to racism after it was discovered that the artist, George Trosley, had drawn a number of disturbing cartoons for Hustler Magazine in the 1970s. To make matters worse, it appeared that the creators began selling off NFTs from their personal collection as the news broke and initially took a defensive stance. That later changed when George Trosley published a long piece on Medium in which he explained the culture and expectations at Hustler at the time.

Jungle Freaks is a popular collection of 10K profile picture NFTs created by George Trosley and his son. The project had much of what is needed to make a successful project these days: complimentary pieces for notable collectors, hand-drawn art, and tens of thousands of followers and Discord users. It is important to note that there were some paid influencers involved in the initial phase, many of whom shilled the project to no end and deemed it as the next “blue-chip,” along the likes of CryptoPunks and Cool Cats.  At launch, the PFPs sold out immediately and the project currently has 5.6K unique users withOpensea volume over 16K ETH and a volatile floor, currently hovering around 0.5 ETH.

Early last week,  it was discovered that George Trosley has drawn a number of racist cartoons depicting, among other things, abuse against black people, during his time at Hustler Magazine in the1970s. NFT Twitter and the project’s Discord channel erupted into an uproar, with divided opinions on how the project and users should move forward. Some claimed that the art was satirical and a bygone of a different era, that NFTs should be permissionless and should not be taken down from secondary market listings and that this was yet another example of cancel culture. Others stated that using PFPs drawn by an artist who has depicted such racist images is incompatible with the social ideals many have fought for since then. 

George Trosley’s son and co-founder of the project, THE_PRINCE, initially reacted defense of his father with an announcement in the Discord channel in order to neutralize growing criticism for the racist depictions.


Both father and son later made a video together in which it was disclosed that “these cartoons were produced under an exclusive contract with the new magazine called Hustler. Larry Flint asked us to be as outrageous as possible, calling attention to social injustices in America and these cartoons depict that.”

“Larry was shot by a white supremacist because he put a white and black couple in the magazine for the first time and they did not like that. Larry is probably the least racist guy,” the junior Trosley explained. 

By then, the damage was done, with the floor crashing from 1.4ETH all the way down to 0.2ETH, with many collectors dumping their collections and removing the images as their profile pictures. Many even called OpenSea and Nifty Gateway to remove the projects from their marketplaces entirely, in solidarity with those affected by racist behavior and depictions. 

The Jungle Freaks team soon published a Medium post to apologize and explain the history of the cartoons: 

“Many of you that are now taking part in the still new and innovative cryptocurrency and NFT space may be too young to know who Larry Flynt was and how Hustler Magazine played an integral role challenging cultural norms while also championing every Americans’ right to freedom of speech protected under the First Amendment of our Constitution. Flynt once stated, “If the First Amendment will protect a scumbag like me, then it will protect all of you. Because I’m the worst.” … 

Without the likes of Larry Flynt championing for First Amendment rights, Twitter might not even exist as it is today as a forum for free speech. To this day there have been movies and documentaries made about Larry Flynt and his crusade to defend First Amendment rights. Flynt leveled the playing field for everyone by calling out the injustices of class antagonism and class structure by tearing us all down to the same human level. It is these such topics that were highlighted by the satirical cartoons I drew.”

The article also mentioned that the project would be creating a DAO that would oversee a percentage of profits that would be allocated as donations for distributing “to social issues that are important to the community, such as financial literacy.”

Unsurprisingly, given the tone, the disclosures made in the article and the creators’ stated intentions about how to move the project forward, much of the anger subsided, but it wouldn’t be enough to resurrect Jungle Freaks to its former glory. Many collectors lost thousands, and in some cases, tens of thousands of dollars with the crash in floor price, which serves as a reminder of how volatile the NFT space is. I’m certain that some collectors were first-time buyers with this project and may look at the space differently after having suffered significant losses. Buyer beware. 

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