If you watched Miami Ink back in the day (and somehow, we all did, right?), then you’ll undoubtedly remember Kat Von D. The show followed several tattoo artists, but Kat was definitely a breakout star. Her stint on Miami Ink led to her getting her own successful spinoff show: LA Ink, which in turn led to even more career opportunities.
You may also know that despite Kat Von D’s success in multiple areas over the years, there are also some people who really don’t like her. The tattoo artist and television personality is no stranger to controversy. Here are a few reasons why she rubs some people the wrong way.
Why don’t people like Kat Von D?
Obviously, there are a lot of people who do like Kat Von D. Shortly after LA Ink started gaining popularity, Sephora executives approached her and said their customers were constantly asking for lip color as bold as what Kat regularly wore on the show. That led to Kat launching a makeup line — KVD Beauty — which is still incredibly popular today (although she ended up selling it in January of 2020).
Actually, it was Kat’s makeup line that first landed her in the midst of controversy. In 2013, Sephora ended up pulling one of the shades of lipstick — “Celebutard” — from its shelves because of customer complaints about its name (makes sense!). Two years later, similar complaints arose about the shade “Underage Red,” although that one was not pulled from shelves or renamed. In a lengthy Facebook post from March of 2015, Kat wrote that people had misinterpreted the name:
“I clearly remember wearing a variation of this shade when I was 16 years old. I also remember the feeling of wanting so badly to go see a specific concert at this age, and not being able to get into the venue because I was underage. Back then, I was already deeply in love with punk rock music, and although in the eyes of many (including my parents), it may have been inappropriate for me to be wearing lipstick. But I did.”
“‘Underage Red’ is not a girly, pink shade. It is not a sophisticated, deep red either. It is an unapologetic, bold red. To me, ‘Underage Red’ is feminine rebellion. [...] So, NO. I refuse to sacrifice my integrity and creative freedom. NO. I will not be pulling ‘Underage Red’ from my collection. And NO. This is not an apology.”
Kat Von D has also been accused of anti-Semitism. In 2008 (shortly after she was fired from Miami Ink), TMZ reported that she allegedly gave her former boss, Ami James, an autographed photo of herself which also featured a drawing of a swastika, a flaming Star of David, and a derogatory message. Ami, who is Jewish, reportedly went to TLC about the message but was rebuffed. Kat denied writing the message and drawing the offensive images.
People also point to the fact that Jesse James (Kat’s ex-boyfriend), dressed up as a Nazi while they were dating as further evidence of her alleged anti-Semitism. Furthermore, Kat’s current husband, Rafael Reyes, has a swastika tattoo on his neck (though he claims it is “not a political one,” whatever that means).
In June of 2018, Kat faced even more controversy after uploading a now-deleted post in which she indicated that she would not be vaccinating her child. The outrage against Kat was swift, though in March of 2020, she told the Los Angeles Times that she actually isn’t anti-vaxx. “I just made a mistake, and I was completely uninformed. It was stupid, and I really shouldn't have opened my big mouth on the subject,” she told the outlet.
Fast forward to 2019 when Kat uploaded a YouTube video entitled, “I am NOT a nazi. I am NOT anti-vaxx.” In the video, she claimed that one of her Miami Ink co-stars used to touch her without her consent and sabotage her tattoo equipment while they were both working on the show.
She said that he used the anti-Semitic autographed photo to try to get LA Ink canceled, which is how she became branded as being anti-Semitic. She did not address her husband’s swastika tattoo or her ex-boyfriend’s Nazi costume.
Suffice it to say that Kat Von D has been at the center of plenty of controversies over the years, and as a result, many people don’t like her. Judging by her 7.4 million followers on Instagram, it’s clear that not everyone takes umbrage with her checkered past, though.