Kat Von D is one of the most successful women in the cosmetics industry, with best-selling lipsticks at Sephora and cult-favourite eyeliners. But as many beauty insiders already know, there's always been a dark side to Von D's success: Since before her days as a makeup guru, rumours have swirled that Von D allegedly has a history of anti-Semitism, and she was accused of being an anti-vaxxer after comments she made last year.
In an 11-minute video posted on YouTube Thursday evening, Von D attempted to put those two rumours to rest. "Just to set the record straight from the beginning, I am not anti-Semitic and I am not an anti-vaxxer," she begins.
Regarding claims that she's anti-Semitic, Von D says, "Out of every comment that I’ve gotten, the ones that are calling me and my family Nazis are the ones that don’t sit well with me. I know a lot of you guys don’t know that I am, myself, a proud Latina. I was born in Mexico."
According to Von D, the rumours of her anti-Semitism started when a "jealous" male co-star who she says sexually harassed and assaulted her on the set of Miami Ink, the TLC show that started her career, pulled a stunt after discovering that Von D had signed on for her own spin-off. "He thought he could cancel my show by going to the network and showing this 8 x 10 with a forged anti-Semitic message on it," she says. "He ended up following through with this threat and went to the media."
"Overnight, I was fiercely branded as an anti-Semite," Von D continues. "I remember the network’s publicist told me to just stay quiet and let it go away. The last thing I’ll say about this topic is, yes, I probably should have talked about this back when it was happening, but I did not have the support I have now."
In reaction to the video, which Von D has disabled comments on, some fans have voiced their support.
Maybe I'm alone in this, but I completely buy Kat Von D's side of the story. She's always come across as very genuine to me, but maybe I'm not paying close enough attention.— Kat Blaque (@kat_blaque) March 14, 2019
I’m a fan of Kat Von D & occasionally uninformed ppl will try to argue she’s Anti-Semitic/anti vax. Here’s a video she posted clarifying the facts. Open ur mind & don’t judge a person based on what strangers/the media want u to believe. Think for yourself! https://t.co/3vVgdH4RZ5— Siouxzy Ferris🍸 (@TheSiouxzy) March 14, 2019
But for the vast majority of others, the explanation has given them pause: As many people have pointed out, Von D also once dated a man (Monster Garage star Jesse James) who has been photographed dressing in Nazi uniforms, is married to a man (musician Rafael Reyes) who once had a Swastika tattoo, and, in 2015, planned to launch a lipstick shade named Selektion, a term Nazis used to describe how they’d choose which prisoners to send to execution. Just last year, she came under fire again for a racially charged Instagram post of a cotton field with the caption, "Let Lock-It Concealer do all the hard work for you."
Many also took issue with the fact that Von D brought up that she's Latina, insinuating that it makes her less likely to be bigoted.
kat von d’s apology video just made me dislike her even more, she didnt address all the nazi “art” her husbands made & started her defense with “im latina” lol just bc ur a racial minority doesn’t mean ur not anti-semitic, & she basically said shes still anti-vax lmao what a joke— natalie (@natippo15) March 14, 2019
In the video, Von D then moves on to address the rumours that she is against vaccination. Before the birth of her child, Von D posted a since-deleted Instagram post about how she would be delivering — and raising — her child. She was opting for a home birth, she wrote, with a midwife and doula. She wanted to raise the child vegan, and "without vaccinations." And just like that, another massive Von D controversy was born.
"I am not an anti-vaxxer," she says. "What I am is a first-time mother. I am one of those moms that reads everything. Anything that is going in my baby or on my baby, I research like a complete and total nerd. After doing a bunch of research and reading the ingredients, naturally I experienced some hesitancy." Von D adds that she and her husband have decided to consult with a paediatrician, saying, "I’m choosing not to make our decision or any of our baby’s health records public." The vague statement has fans — or former fans — asking even more questions.
Naturally, Von D also addresses in the video why she's speaking out on these two long-standing rumours now. While plenty of people think it may be in response to sales, Von D says it's more personal than that. "I have a son now," she says. "Seeing all of these awful comments and things people are saying, I can't just pretend that it's going to go away."
Thanks to the internet, it probably never will.
Refinery29 has reached out to Von D's reps and will update this post when we hear back.