Sarah Grace Goolden
Kat Von D broke the internet this week with an Instagram post revolving around her future child. The tattoo artist, who starred in the reality show L.A Ink and owns a popular makeup line, has been an advocate for veganism and a cruelty-free lifestyle. It was not surprising when she announced that she was going to raise her child to have the same values. What did shock and bewilder her fanbase and the rest of the internet was her choice to not vaccinate.
The choice to opt out of modern medicine miracles due to misinformation and fear has surged in popularity over the past few years, stemming from the 1998 findings of Dr. Andrew Wakefield, a former British gastroenterologist. After he claimed vaccines cause autism, the General Medical Council revoked Wakefield’s license to practice medicine, citing unethical behavior, misconduct and fraud. Still, there are people who still believe in the connection between vaccines and autism.
Up-to-date vaccinations are essential for the health of everyone, not just the single child being denied. The fact that Kat Von D would put others at risk seemed to be appalling but this is not the first time she has been accused of lacking empathy.
A string of past boyfriends prove her tolerance from intolerance. Von D’s first husband, Oliver Peck, was pictured wearing blackface. She was also engaged to motorcycle fanatic and TV personality, Jesse James, who was famously pictured wearing an SS officer hat and sieg heiling.
Her current husband has publicly posted several art pieces he created which don swastikas. Additionally, ex-boyfriend Steve-O accused her of writing an anti-semitic message to her former boss on Miami Ink. Von D has repeatedly denied the message was from her.
Lastly, she has been known to bring up the Holocaust very casually, comparing it to the meat industry. This analogy is wildly offensive and, while the slaughter of animals may be inhumane, inaccurate. One of her lipstick names was originally going to be Selektion, a Nazi term for the selection of prisoners to be executed in concentration camps. She later changed the name but that does not change the fact she thought that was an appropriate thing to do.
Kat Von D has proven her indifference to the suffering and genocide of Jewish people. While her efforts to save animals from the cruelty of the meat and beauty industry are obvious, her lack of understanding human struggle is even more so.
Von D’s decision not to vaccinate is a bold one that many are concerned about. With such a sprawling platform and huge fanbase, her influence with current and future parents could result in a movement against vaccinations, a potential health disaster. However, we should have been angry with her far before that Instagram post.
For years, her social media following and makeup brand have flourished despite all of the public information regarding her anti-semitism. Why was it pardoned and why is it just now catching up with her? Possibly, not enough people knew and this event is just spreading light on her past. However, it is unnerving that she was still revered, despite her history.
Kat Von D bit the bullet when she decided to publicly announce some not-so-popular choices she made for her future son or daughter. It is important that the hurt and confusion felt is that of health and safety concerns and not the policing of her child. The huge response is not mom-shaming; it is fueled by the fear for their own lives and the lives of their children.
For the future, it is essential to learn from the slack given to Kat Von D. Even if a person has great makeup or is an advocate for another movement, racism is completely unacceptable. Giving them a free pass because they do good tattoos is becoming silent in the struggles of those they disrespect, which is just as bad as disrespecting them yourself. We, as consumers, gave Von D the platform that she uses. We are the same people that can take that platform away.