Tattoo Artist Backed for Turning Away Client For Being Too 'Fat'

Commenters supported a tattoo artist for refusing to tattoo a client for being too "fat" after requesting a stomach tattoo.

The anonymous artist, known as u/kajsakiller, posted about the incident in Reddit's popular "Am I The A**hole" forum where it received nearly 7,000 upvotes and 1,050 comments, many mentioning the importance of sanitation inside tattoo studios. The post can be found here.

Sanitation Requirements

All tattoo establishments—no matter where they're located—must uphold strict sanitation standards set by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

Tattoo studios are held to a high degree of cleanliness because the nature of the job involves blood.

In addition to using sanitized equipment and following hygiene standards in the studio, clients are expected to arrive at the studio clean. During the appointment, the desired area is sterilized before the tattoo process begins.

Tattoo artist called client 'fat'
Users supported a tattoo artist online after they refused to give an "overweight" client a stomach tattoo. Yaroslav Astakhov/iStock

'Am I The A**hole?'

In the post titled "AITA for refusing to tattoo an extremely overweight woman?" the anonymous artist said she'd been in contact with a client online who was interested in a geometric style tattoo on her stomach and "underboob" area.

The artist said the client never mentioned her weight and that when she came into the studio they noticed her torso was a "series of folds," especially in the area where the tattoo was supposed to be placed.

"Not only that but under her various folds there had definitely not been cleaned in a while (the smell was something else)," the post read.

After seeing the client, the artist decided the tattoo they initially decided on wasn't possible because it would either be placed inside her "folds" or over them.

"Which means if she lost weight that there would be huge gaps in the tattoo," the post read.

Does Tattoo Placement Matter?

According to Livestrong.com, while some tattoo placements protect the appearance of the tattoo after significant weight changes, tattoos placed on the stomach are heavily impacted by weight loss or gain—especially in a short amount of time.

When the client asked why the artist refused to do the tattoo, they explained that due to the "folds on her stomach" they would not be able to create a well-done tattoo in that style. But the artist suggested that they could go for a different placement or do a different style in the initial area.

"This is where she completely snapped at me screaming into my face that I was fat phobic and just didn't wanna do it because I found her gross," the post read. "And that an 'anorexic skinny hoe' like me just didn't get her."

'The Right Call'

The artist said they do not want to give a client a "sh*t" tattoo and cares a lot about clients feeling comfortable, but felt it necessary to not do the initial design.

"I obviously triggered something in her and I feel really bad about it, I asked some of the more experienced [artists] what they'd do and they agreed I made the right call," the post read.

When the client asked for a different design on her stomach, the artist refused and said her behavior made them "uncomfortable."

The artist added that "in my temperamental state" they told the client that she should "wash her folds before coming into a tattoo studio where cleanliness is top priority."

In an update, the anonymous artist added that the comment about being anorexic "hit" them because they are recovering from anorexia.

Redditor Reactions

Nearly 1,050 users commented on the post, many supporting the artist's decision not to tattoo the woman.

"Every tattoo artist always asks that you come clean. Has nothing to do with weight," one user commented. "I guarantee if she already wasn't cleaning that area, she probably would not follow with proper aftercare. And result in gnarly infection."

"NTA. You gave her professional advice and she attacked you verbally. Good riddance," another user commented, receiving nearly 10,000 upvotes.

"Body odor revulsion is a real thing, and she wasn't even considerate enough to come into the appointment, CLEAN," another user commented. "I say this as an overweight woman myself, you are not the AH here."

"Trying to get a tattoo on unwashed folded skin doesn't even make sense. That's disgusting and unsanitary," another wrote. "Sounds like a recipe for infection that she would've also blamed on you."

Newsweek reached out to u/kajsakiller for comment.

In another viral Reddit thread, a tattoo artist was slammed for hiding their initials in a client's tattoo honoring their late grandfather.

A father was also slammed online after calling his 8-year-old son's temporary tattoos "trashy," and another man was criticized for asking his fiancée to remove her tattoo honoring her late husband and son.