A tattoo artist has launched his own #metoo movement by challenging sexual misconduct in the tattoo industry.
Alex Bage, from Newcastle in Britain, decided to take action after hearing numerous allegations that fellow tattoo artists are taking advantage of young, vulnerable girls, Metro UK reports.
“You hear stories,” Bage said. “Some of my customers asked me, ‘What can be done? Who can I tell?’ or ‘It’s his words against mine.’
“I’m not a martyr but I hate bullies and manipulative people and this is my attempt to stand up to them and show that people will back those who want to make a difference.”
He says he’s heard stories of harassment, assault and requests for “nudes” in return for a free tattoo from women who’d experienced sexual misconduct by tattooists.
Bage shares the harrowing stories of these victims with his 75 000 Instagram followers.
“It’s been heartbreaking reading people’s accounts at times, as a lot of these girls sought their new tattoo and a change as a way out of, or away from, emotionally challenging or restricting situations, and into another sordid and upsetting place,” he said.
“Some of these tattooists are morally questionable and see a vulnerability with what’s often their ‘captive audience’, like those who tattoo in lockable ‘private rooms’ – something I don’t agree with.”
He says Britain doesn’t have a vetting system in place where background checks on tattoo artists can be done.
Dozens of women across the globe have come forward detailing their horrific experiences of sexual abuse and misconduct, according to online alternative clothing shop Rebel Circus.
Up to 200 women have accused tattoo artist Alex Boyko (25), who’s based in Detroit in the US, of sexual abuse and misconduct, according to an investigative report published on Jezebel earlier this year.
“As far I know, very few of these cases have been successful and if they have, they’re not well-documented,” Bage says, referring to sexual misconduct cases in the UK.
“Victims don’t have much they can actually do – it’s always ‘his word against theirs’.”