TikTok tattoogate goes viral as tattoo artist faces backlash over design changes

Alice Sjöberg
What is Tattoogate on TikTok?

A tattoo artist has caused drama on TikTok with it being referred to as tattoogate after trying to charge client extra for adjustments to design.

Tattoos have always been a controversial topic of conversation. Even though people across the world have practiced the art form for thousands of years, some people and places still consider them somewhat taboo.

The latest conversation about tattoos and tattoo artists has taken TikTok by storm, as an artist has been slammed for trying to charge a client extra for designs, with people now calling the case “tattoogate.”

What is ‘tattoo gate’ on TikTok?

On May 10, a TikTok user by the name of Courtney Monteith posted three videos of her experience with a tattoo artist who had undisclosed fees to her booking process and who Courtney said didn’t design the tattoo she wanted.

Courtney begins to explain to the viewers that she’d contacted a tattoo artist she’d admired on social media to get a tattoo of a fox. She paid a deposit of $1,000 for the appointment, $85 for a consultation, and an additional $1,600 as a design fee.

Courtney told her viewers she was surprised when the artist gave her three choices of design fees, with $1,500 plus tax being the cheapest, and included one minimal change to the design, and the most expensive being $6,000 plus tax which included multiple sketches with several reviews and changes to the design.

“At first I thought that price was going to be taken out of the final cost of my tattoo, but then I found out it was not,” Courtney said.

The fees were “optional”

The tattoo artist wrote in an email to Courtney: “The design collab is an optional service, for those clients that wish to have more influence on the tattoo design and opportunities for feedback and making changes.”

Courtney went on to urge the artist to put this on her website as Courtney had not been aware of the extra fees when she first contacted her about the tattoo booking. The tattoo artist had then mentioned a fourth option which didn’t include the design fee, which she had failed to mention to Courtney.

Courtney told her viewers: “I was never told that that fee was optional. She presented me with three options, asked me which one I was most comfortable with. I should’ve walked away at that point, that’s on me.

“But I feel like she could have been clearer on the get-go. I didn’t know there was an option four. She never went over option four.”

To make matters worse, Courtney also argued that the artist had not listened to what she wanted, as the sketch she’d been sent, in particular the positioning of the fox, didn’t look like the references she’d sent. And when she pointed this out, the artist argued that she didn’t like the positioning of the fox in the reference photos.

Viewers reunite in support

Since posting the videos on May 10, the first video has gained over 4.4 million views whereas the other two have received about one million views each. Thousands of people have also provided their support to Courtney.

One person wrote: “A tattoo artist that isn’t willing to work with you so that you are 100% satisfied with the art PERMANENTLY being put on your body is an artists you avoid.”

Another said: “I have like 75% of my body tattooed, from artists like literally all over the US and Canada – never have paid for a consult.”

“Never in my life have I heard anything like this! Wow! First paying for a consult then paying for a design that doesn’t include the tattoo? Wow,” a third person wrote.

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen tattoos spark controversy on the app either. In February, a woman went viral with her experience of a botched design that left her in tears.

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