The Associated Press canceled the sale of a non-fungible token showing an inflatable raft crowded with migrants, capitulating to a wave of backlash on Thursday evening.
The AP has an NFT marketplace offering images and videos taken by the organization’s photographers. This video contained top-down footage of migrants and refugees awaiting rescue in the Mediterranean Sea, shot by the photographer Felipe Dana.
The news agency’s since-deleted tweet promoting the sale characterized it as a “drop,” a descriptor some commentators considered crass in the context of Europe’s refugee crises.
“This was a poor choice of imagery for an NFT,” AP spokeswoman Lauren Easton said. “It has not and will not be put up for auction. The tweet promoting it was also deleted.”
The Discord server for the AP’s NFT marketplace was abuzz on Thursday evening with users demanding answers directly from staffers.
“I too wish to buy ownership of suffering migrants,” wrote one.
“AP’s NFT marketplace is a very early pilot program, and we are immediately reviewing our efforts,” Easton said.
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