"I'm Not Anti-Semitic And I Am Not An Anti-Vaxxer"
Kat Von D is fighting to take her name back and shut down rumors that she’s grown weary of hearing. She addresses gossip that she is a Nazi and an Anti Vaxxer in a youtube video that’s amassed nearly 1,6 million views thus far.
On being a Nazi
Tattoo artist turned beauty mogul, Kat Von D, has not escaped the fate of the rumor mill. I remember when someone told me that ‘Kat von D is a Nazi.’ “But, she’s Hispanic,” was all I could say. You can’t be a Nazi and Hispanic, right? That duel identity would surely make anyone implode on themselves.
But, obviously, you can be Hispanic and Anti-Semitic. And this is the rumor Kat Von D addresses at the beginning of the the 11 minute video. She tells viewers that she was born in Mexico to Argentinian parents. She then goes on to tell us that Spanish was her first language. Just in case you didn’t believe her, she then says the statement all over again in Spanish.
While she has disabled comments on the youtube video, citing that “there are way too many trolls out there who aren't capable of having considerate conversations about topics like these” (source), she did not deactivate the comments on her Instagram post about the video. Some people questioned what being Latina had to do with the Nazi rumor.
I do not believe that Kat von D was saying “I’m Latina therefore I cannot be racist/ Anti-Semitic.” But I do think she was pointing out that Nazis glorified European whiteness. While she has pale skin, she is not European or White and therefore cannot be a Nazi. Her bringing up her own heritage was a way, I think, of addressing the fact that some people have an idea of what they believe a Latina should look like and that Kat Von D does not fit that stereotype for some people. As a Latina myself, I know how society expects Latinas to look and behave and when you don’t fit their mold, your Latinidad is challenged. But, again, being non-white does not mean you cannot be racist or Anti-Semitic.
According to 37 year old beauty icon, the Anti-Semtic rumors come from when she was a reality TV star on Miami Ink. When she joined the cast, the ratings went up and Kat Von D says that is when “hazing” began from a cast member who felt threatened. The hazing got so out of control that Kat Von D chose to leave the show. Because of her popularity, the network offered her own tattoo reality show spin off show called L.A. Ink. When she was leaving, she had left autographed photos for the production crew. Once the cast member who had been harassing Kat Von D found out about the spin off, he took one of the autographed photos to the network. In addition to her autograph, there was an Anti-Semitic comment and the scorned cast member threatened to release the photo unless the spin off was canceled. She did not confirm if the cast member wrote the message himself. There would be no way of knowing that. Kat Von D says production with L.A. Ink continued because network could tell that the Anti-Semitic comment was not her hand writing.
Kat Von D says she speaking out now because of her son. “None of this feels good to relive. But I have a son now and seeing all these awful comments and the things people are saying, I can’t just sit around and pretend like it’s gonna go away. And it sucks that over this last decade that every time this 8x10 comes up I have to, you know, be reminded of this really awful, traumatizing time. And after all this recent hate, it’s just -enough is enough. It’s time for me to finally speak up and set the record straight”
On Being Anti-Vaxx
Kat Von D struggles to talk about this subject a little bit more that than the other rumor which isn’t surprising. She is putting her family in a vulnerable space. She says, “I am not an anti-vaxxer. What I am is a first time mother.”
She explains that she is the type of mom who obsesses over the ingredients of what is going “in or on [her] baby.” When she was pregnant, she was asked if she would vaccinate her child. In the video she says she was hesitant. However, she was much or adamant in the original post.
The post where she initially shared that she would not vaccinate her child has been taken down but the caption was as follows:"And, if you don’t know what it’s like to have the entire world openly criticize, judge, throw uninformed opinions, and curse you - try being an openly pregnant vegan on Instagram, having a natural, drug-free home birth in water with a midwife and doula, who has the intention of raising a vegan child, without vaccinations." (source)
It’s a post that led to a boycott of Kat Von D Beauty.
In another Instagram post, Kat Von D wrote: “My husband @prayers and I are NOT anti-vaxxers,” she wrote. “We are not against vaccines. Just because we have hesitancies and valid concerns about injecting our baby with specific chemicals and toxins does not mean we are anti anything” (source)
In the end of the youtube video, Kat Von D expresses regret for having shared her and her husband’s stance on where they were at the time in regards to vaccinating their child. She says. “Since then, we have decided as parents to consult with our pediatrician and just let him educate us and guide us… Unlike before, I’ve learned my lesson and I am choosing not to make our decision or any of our baby’s health records public. And I just want to thank you guys for respecting that.”
I think some people expected her to say whether or not she was going to vaccinate her child in this video. Because she didn’t, some of the comments from the Instagram post about her video left some followers unsatisfied.
“You literally cleared up nothing??? You just danced around the subjects???
“Sales must really be down…”
In all fairness, that last comment may have a point. Sales may be down. Kat Von D Beauty recently released a new mascara. For the first time in its history, the brand is choosing another celebrity, other than Kat Von D, as the face of their latest product (source). Is it the first move in disconnecting the brand from it’s namesake?
Jackie Cruz is the actress who plays Flaca on the Netflix original series, Orange Is The New Black. Now she is the face of Go Big Or Go Home mascara for Kat Von D Beauty.
It could just be a coincidence that after a major scandal and boycott that the brand is featuring a new face. It could be that Kat Von D herself is choosing a fresher face so she can spend more time with her son.
While her video did get some backlash, many of the comments were in support of Kat Von D sharing her side of the story.
“Don’t spend another secon on this, darling. You are an amazing person, and don’t need to defend yourself! Just live your beautiful life with your beautiful family, and don’t look back.”
“I just watched your video and commend you for your courage to stand up to those who hate. I think you are amazing! Ps I love your makeup”
Watch the video here!