Larry David, world-renowned for his blunt candor, is finally speaking out about his now-infamous appearance in a 2022 Super Bowl ad for FTX. And the comedian will be the first to say: In hindsight, he views his decision to legitimize the collapsed crypto exchange as pretty, pretty, pretty bad.
“I asked people—friends of mine who were well versed in this stuff—’Should I do this ad? Is there anything wrong with this, with me doing this? Is this okay?’” David recounted during the premiere of the final season of his HBO series Curb Your Enthusiasm earlier this week. “And they said, ‘Yeah, this is totally on the up and up… Do it.’ So like an idiot, I did it.”
David did not elaborate on the identities of these trusted crypto consiglieres who he says convinced him to back FTX at the peak of the exchange’s prominence in 2022.
But the “Seinfeld” and “Curb Your Enthusiasm” creator is clearly regretful about the decision, which—following the spectacular implosion of FTX just months after the Super Bowl ad ran—continues to haunt him.
Days after FTX abruptly filed for bankruptcy in November 2022, following the revelation of massive holes in the company’s accounting books, David—along with other FTX celebrity endorsers including Tom Brady and Shaquille O’Neal—were targeted by a class action lawsuit accusing the A-listers of participating in a “fraudulent scheme” alongside FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried to “take advantage of unsophisticated investors.”
David not only acknowledged that suit on the red carpet this week; he appeared to endorse its claims.
“I’m in a class action lawsuit, which I would love to be part of,” David told the Associated Press. “Because part of my salary was in crypto—so I lost a lot of money.”
According to a recent biography of Bankman-Fried written by the author Michael Lewis, David was paid $10 million by FTX for his appearance in the company’s 150-second Super Bowl spot. Neither David nor FTX has confirmed how much of that sum was paid in crypto.
In the ad, David deployed his iconic brand of jaded skepticism to dismiss and mock numerous landmark inventions of history including the wheel, the toilet, and the lightbulb. At the ad’s conclusion, he similarly derides FTX—implying that the exchange was poised to become as fundamental to human development as the other innovations David poo-pooed.
Interestingly, David was the only celebrity endorser of FTX to, in his commercial appearances, specifically caution users not to use the app. But given the ad’s ironic framing, that distinction is one to which the ongoing FTX class action lawsuit does not pay much heed.
Last May, that suit got a notable boost from a high ranking former FTX compliance executive, who agreed to aid the case’s plaintiffs by providing key testimony.
The suit is still ongoing; Bankman-Fried, meanwhile, was found guilty by a Manhattan jury in October of seven federal fraud and conspiracy charges. He faces sentencing in March. In the meantime, FTX’s bankruptcy advisors said Wednesday that it expects to fully repay “customers and general unsecured creditors with allowed claims.”
Edited by Andrew Hayward