‘The O.C.’ and ‘Gotham’ star implores celebs to stop pushing crypto on their fans

ben mckenzie
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 23: Ben McKenzie attends the Tribeca TV Festival sneak peek of Gotham at Cinepolis Chelsea on September 23, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images for Tribeca TV Festival)

Cryptocurrency has been the source of relentless news stories over the past year, with more and more versions launching, garnering the phenomena more mainstream media attention in the process.

This trend has seen celebrities controversially promoting and backing various online projects, ranging from cryptocurrencies to NFTs. However, a very unexpected name has become a vocal opponent of crypto. 

Ben McKenzie has had a long acting career, getting his big break in the popular drama The O.C., where he played the role of Ryan Atwood, launching him to teen heartthrob status and ultimately stardom.

From there, he would go to star in many theater shows, movies, and television series, most notably playing a young James Gordon in fan favorite Batman prequel Gotham.

The 43 year-old has now waded into the cryptocurrency discussion, co-writing an article for Slate with Jacob Silverman, the journalist best known for his 2015 book Terms of Service: Social Media and the Price of Constant Connection. 

In the article, titled “Celebrity Crypto Shilling Is a Moral Disaster,” McKenzie criticized Kim Kardashian and celebrities in general for promoting a cryptocurrency to their social media followers. 

“Urging her 251 million Instagram followers to get involved in a highly volatile, speculative market that’s little different than gambling in the world’s most fraudulent casino. 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.

These rich and famous entertainers might as well be pushing payday loans or seating their audience at a rigged blackjack table. While the wild swings of crypto might be exciting for some, the rewards for many are illusory, especially once one gets beyond the top few cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum.

Since then, McKenzie and Silverman have penned more articles about crypto for the same publication. These include a deep dive into the nature of and issues with Tether, a so-called “stablecoin” at the center of a large part of the crypto-economy. They’ve also done a breakdown of some terrible celebrity NFT projects, and another that describes New York Mayor Eric Adams’ decision to take his paycheck in Bitcoin as “an embarrassingly stupid move.”

However, these articles won’t be McKenzie and Silverman’s final words on the matter. The pair are working together on a book that discusses the crypto industry and fraud, but it doesn’t have a confirmed publication date as of yet.