Beloved painter Bob Ross died in 1995 due to complications from lymphoma, but before he passed away he made it very clear to the world that he didn’t want his likeness used for profit. But recently, Pop figurine maker Funko went in on the hot new digital grift by turning turned Ross into an NFT that’s purchasable on December 21.
This grift is the antithesis to what Bob Ross wanted. Just before passing, he made significant changes to his will to prevent capitalists from profiting off him after death. More specifically, he wanted his family–Steve, his son, and half-brother, Jimmie Cox–to retain the rights to his name, image, and likeness (NIL). Things got messy when Cox allegedly relinquished his rights to the company, and once it was all said and done, Ross’ business partners, Annette and Walt Kowalski, took control of the entire estate. The Kowalski’s wanted that all along, sending Ross a threatening fax just days before the final Joy of Painting episode aired. From his deathbed and even beyond the grave, Ross sought to fight against those looking to benefit.
And now, we get digital Bob Ross Pop NFTs, which you can purchase directly from the digital Funko website. There are two packs available, one for $US10 ($14) and another for $US30 ($42), though why anyone would do this is beyond me. The standard bundle comes with five digital Pop cards, while the more expensive premium pack contains 15, all viewable through platforms called Droppp and TokenHead, which house NFTs for purchase via the blockchain.
Bob Ross' legacy of creating and investing in the art of painting are values that both Funko artists and fans believe in. We’re excited to offer Bob Ross Digital Pop!™ launching 12/21. https://t.co/yMEMrEs32O #FunkoDigitalPop @tokenheadio @Dropppio pic.twitter.com/sqEoA35gtn
— Funko (@OriginalFunko) December 14, 2021
We’ve reached out to Funko for comment and will update if we hear back.
As you can imagine, people online are very pissed about this — and for good reason. This isn’t what Ross wanted, as evidenced by how difficult he tried (and ultimately failed) to make it for vultures circling his fame. There’s an entire Netflix documentary that dropped in August detailing the perils of Bob Ross’ estate, with confessionals from Steve about Ross’ last wishes.
The thing about capitalists, though, is they don’t care. If you make money, they will exploit you for all eternity. As such, Ross has since shown up in everything from films like Deadpool 2 to shows such as Family Guy. He even made an appearance as a playable champion in the MOBA Smite, and now he’s a collectible NFT. The world is truly going to shit.
A strain on the planet’s finite resources, NFTs are popping up everywhere. Celebrities are peddling them. Artists are digging them. Even game studios are getting into them despite not understanding how they work at all. And now we live in a hell where Ghost Recon: Breakpoint features an NFT that you could get for free if you play over 600 hours of the open-world shooter.