Oliver Peck, the famed tattoo artist and co-owner of Dallas’ Elm Street Tattoo, has officially been ousted from his spot on Paramount Network’s Ink Masters days after photos of him wearing blackface–on multiple occasions–surfaced online. The 48-year-old has been a judge on the show since its premiere in 2012, and he is featured in Season 13, which premiered last night. I guess it was too late to cut him out. Anyway, reps for Ink Masters and Peck himself have both confirmed that he’ll be replaced in future seasons.
The photos, which came to light about a week ago on social media and were spread by TMZ, came from Peck’s MySpace account and show him wearing blackface and incredibly stupid costumes on at least two occasions. He even documented the process of applying the dark-toned foundation. He’s seen in blackface, an afro wig, and false teeth wearing a superhero costume emblazoned with a large “N” on the chest. In another set of photos, he’s wearing blackface with a different fro wig and a Lakers’ uniform. TMZ mentioned that he also wore blackface to a Playboy bunny party. It’s not clear when or where the photos were taken.
Peck issued a public apology a few days ago before announcing on Instagram that he and Ink Masters’ producers “have decided it’s best to part ways.” The network condemned the photos but ultimately let him go gently.
“The offensive photos of me which recently surfaced from many years ago can only be a distraction to the amazing show I have loved being a part of and its many talented artists,” he told TMZ in a statement.
It’ll be interesting to see how Peck’s downfall will affect business at Elm Street Tattoo, the Deep Ellum shop he co-owns with Dean Williams, and often serves as the face of. Over 23 years in business, the parlor has become a Dallas institution and even started its own annual tattoo and music festival.
Other than Peck, there are 15 artists who call Elm Street Tattoo home. They don’t deserve to have their careers derailed by Peck’s actions, but, on the other hand, I have trouble believing that a business part-owned by a racist deserves to be patronized. I guess you could say Peck is a distraction from many talented artists offscreen as well. Elm Street Tattoo declined to comment.