- A star from “The O.C.” has written an article slamming celebrities who push crypto coins on their fans.
- Ben McKenzie, who played Ryan in the show, said the “Hollywoodization of crypto is a moral disaster.”
- He said crypto is highly dangerous, and many celebrities are “promoting the financial equivalent of Russian roulette.”
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
In the hit early-2000s TV show “The O.C.”, Ryan Atwood was a kid from the wrong side of the tracks with a strong moral compass.
Now Ben McKenzie, the actor who played him, has channeled Ryan and taken a principled stance on cryptocurrencies, criticizing his fellow celebrities for shilling risky tokens to unsuspecting amateur investors.
“The Hollywoodization of crypto is a moral disaster,” McKenzie wrote in an article in Slate on Thursday. The piece slammed celebrities such as Kim Kardashian for “promoting the financial equivalent of Russian roulette.”
Kardashian posted an Instagram story in June encouraging her 250 million followers to buy into a little-known cryptocurrency called ethereum max, which has since plunged. The post earned Kardashian a ticking off from the UK financial regulator, which said she was putting retail investors’ money at risk.
McKenzie said celebrities – especially those such as Kardashian, who he said is “400 times more famous than me” – should be far more responsible about touting crypto tokens.
“Whether it’s Lindsay Lohan peddling five-figure NFTs, laser-eyed Tom Brady endorsing the exchange FTX, or Akon promising to build a $6 billion, crypto-inspired city in Senegal, there’s a lot of capital swirling around this industry, and much cause for worry,” he wrote.
“Celebrities are encouraging their fans to gamble on speculative, unproven investments that may soon see a major regulatory crackdown, if not an outright implosion of the market.”
McKenzie, who shot to fame playing Ryan Atwood in “The O.C.” in 2003, majored in economics at the University of Virginia and is deeply interested in markets, at least according to his Twitter. McKenzie also played detective James Gordon in Fox’s Batman spin-off “Gotham.”
His Slate article was co-authored by journalist Jacob Silverman, with whom McKenzie is writing a book about crypto and fraud.
The actor said the cryptocurrency world has a whole host of problems and is rife with scams such as “rug pulls” – when tokens’ founders simply take everyone’s funds.
“The Hollywoodization of crypto is a moral disaster. And for celebrities’ fans, who likely have far less money to lose, it’s potentially a financial one, too,” McKenzie wrote. “These rich and famous entertainers might as well be pushing payday loans or seating their audience at a rigged blackjack table.”