photo: Getty Images

Kat Von D has had it with rumors about her husband, Rafael Reyes, being an anti-Semite and she's trying to set the record straight about their union once and for all. The beauty mogul has had quite the tough PR year as she's been heavily criticized for speaking out against vaccinations during her pregnancy with her son, Leafar Reyes, and for being an alleged anti-Semite herself. 

Sure, Von D already addressed the anti-vaxxer and anti-Semite allegations in a now-viral video on her YouTube channel. Unfortunately, she failed to address her husband and his history of using anti-Semitic imagery. Fans have continuously called her out for her relationship with Rafael Reyes, and now they're both firing back in hopes of quieting the rumors for good. 

In March 2019, Kat Von D uploaded a very detailed clarification video in attempts to defend herself against anti-vaccination and anti-Semitic rumors. 

"I’ve been getting a ton of hate over two different controversial topics, both of which are pretty hard for me to talk about," she shared. "But I really want to try my best to clear the air so all I ask that you bear with me. Just to set the record straight from the beginning, I want to say I am not anti-Semitic, and I am not an anti-vaxxer." 

Kat Von D also went into a very complicated explanation about how exactly she came to be known as an anti-Semite in the first place. 

According to Kat Von D, the anti-Semite rumors were started by an enemy on the Miami Ink reality show.

“To help give you guys a better understanding of how this Nazi rumor started, I’m gonna have to go back to a time that I honestly really hate to talk about. I hate thinking about it. I ended up going to years of therapy and healing in order to deal with a lot of the traumatizing things that happened back then.”

Von D claims she was routinely bullied and harassed by the Miami Ink castmember.

She alleged that the Miami Ink castmember verbally harassed her, sent her sexual text messages, touched her inappropriately, and grew angry when she would not respond to his advances. 

"The worst part of all of it was that when... I turned to the other guys for support, they literally did nothing and they just acted like nothing happened," Von D alleged in her video. "Needless to say, none of this type of behavior ever made the air. Eventually, I'd just had enough, and I ended up having to quit off camera."

Von D also claimed that this person is the one who circulated a forged anti-Semitic message on one of her photos and passed it off as her handwriting.

“I have no idea who actually forged the message,” Von D shared. "But what I do know is that the man who treated me so terribly on set took this 8x10 [photo] and threatened the network, saying that if they don’t cancel LA Ink, then he would go to different media outlets and release the 8x10 [photo] with the forged message on it."

As for the vaccination issues, Kat Von D delivered a pretty vague explanation about where she is on the controversial subject.

"I am not an anti-vaxxer. What I am is a first-time mother," she explained. "Back when I was pregnant, somebody asked me on Twitter if we were vaccinating our baby. After doing a bunch of research and reading the ingredients, naturally, I experienced some hesitancy. You guys know me. I tend to share everything with you guys... If I would have known that I would have let so many people down with that, I would have never, ever shared where we were at with it at that time.” 

She also confirmed that she will no longer be revealing whether or not she and her husband move forward with vaccinating their son.

Although some people forgave Kat Von D, PLENTY of people felt she still left many questions unanswered, mainly about her husband and the decisions she's made for her business. 

No matter how much Kat Von D declares that she isn't a racist or an anti-Semite, people cannot help but side-eye the people she has surrounded herself with over the years. 

"People say Kat Von D can’t be racist because she was born in Mexico. She’s been involved with Jesse James (a neo-Nazi), Nikki Sixx (history of racism) and her current husband has a swastka [sic] on his neck. Her ex bff is Jeffree Star and she’s a proud anti-Semite," one critic wrote on Twitter. 

Rumors about Kat Von D's husband, Rafael Reyes, and his history of anti-Semitism have been swirling around for a while. 

After a little internet digging, the Revelist team found a very clear photo of the swastika tattoo on Rafael Reyes' neck. 

And there it is on Al Gore's good internet. According to Reyes, he doesn't believe that this is a Nazi symbol. 

"I was really inspired by what the symbol meant. It represented so many things – the seasons, like winter, spring, summer, and fall. It’s a symbol of the sun; it’s also used as a compass," he explained to Remezcla. "And it just means so many powerful things and it’s so ancient. I hated how it got stolen and turned into a symbol of hate and negativity. That was done by the Nazis, but originally the Swastika belonged to – and still belongs to – my people. One of the reasons I got it tattooed on my throat is because the Buddha has it on his throat. It’s because he speaks the truth and that’s what I do." 

This past Wednesday, Reyes also clapped back at a fan who asked him online if he is anti-Semitic.

"Truth? Are you anti-Semitic?" a person wrote to him. 

"What? Are you serious? U must not know anything about me if you're asking such a stupid and insulting question," Reyes responded to the inquirer. "I'm native from my mother's side and Jewish from my father's side, and I was born in Mexico. Why cause I have a Buddhist cross tattooed on my throat that's coming out of a lotus? I have tons of sacred symbols tattooed on my body. On my neck, I have a Star of David and OM an ANKH!" 

Reyes also thoroughly explained what the swastika's origins are in Central and South American culture. 

"What I have tattooed in Navajo iconography, it's called a 'Whirling log,' and can denote abundance, prosperity, healing, and luck. For the Mayans, the swastika stood for creation and for the Incas and Aztecs it represented the four seasons due to its four arms, the center symbolizing the sun. The swastika is also found in many Mesoamerican works of art. The swastika is very important in Buddhism and is known as 'Buddha's heart.' There are lots more examples. I hope that satisfies your curiosity. But if it doesn't, [then] cool. No big deal. I know my truth. I don't have to validate myself to anyone." 

Reyes also continued to rant about feeling miscategorized in the caption. 

"Before you go around calling me a Nazi get your facts straight! The internet is a crazy place," he wrote in his Instagram caption. "People can create a false narrative about someone they know nothing about and push it. Without any consequences or concern of how it can effect [sic] that person's life." 

According to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM) and its official Holocaust Encyclopedia, Reyes is correct that the swastika had a life before the German Führer Adolf Hitler transformed it into the symbol of hatred that many know today. 

The USHMM confirms:

"The word swastika comes from the Sanskrit svastika, which means 'good fortune' or 'well-being.' The motif (a hooked cross) appears to have first been used in Eurasia, as early as 7,000 years ago, perhaps representing the movement of the sun through the sky. To this day, it is a sacred symbol in Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Odinism. It is a common sight on temples or houses in India or Indonesia. Swastikas also have an ancient history in Europe, appearing on artifacts from pre-Christian European cultures."

"Symbols such as the swastika have a long history," the USHMM continues. "To avoid misunderstanding and misuse, individuals should consider the context and past use of Nazi symbols and symbols in general." 

Kat Von D dropped a note to support her husband, Rafael Reyes, in the comments section of his post.

"I hate that you have to deal with this, darling. But like always, we will get through this," she wrote. 

But that's not where Kat Von D ended things. She took to her own page to defend her husband against the anti-Semitic label.

"So grateful for my husband @prayers," she began her note.

"I know being married to me comes with a lot of baggage, especially when it comes to the backlash I’ve received on social media this last year. Sadly, we live in a world where people get off on criminalizing others for the sake of gaining more clicks and views on their gossip channels on YouTube, and I hate that even my husband has had to deal with it because of me. 

It never feels good to be accused of things you are not. And regardless, @prayers has humbly stayed quiet and supported me every step of the way, regardless of all the vicious rumors. Read his last post, and see some of the sh** we have to deal with. Thank you, mi amor, for sticking with me and loving me no matter what."

Although Kat Von D is trying to stand by her husband's side, I think it would be erroneous to overlook the fact that many parts of this swastika situation could have been handled differently.

Kat Von D and Rafael Reyes are public figures. Though Reyes is right and they do not have to "validate" themselves for anyone, their being public figures leaves them open to many questions and opinions from people across the world who support them. Kat Von D sells makeup and (soon) shoes. Reyes is an artist and a musician. Both of them are well aware that although the swastika symbol began as a positive one, it is not a completely foreign idea for people to be wary of a person wearing a swastika tattoo. Much of the world perceives it as a symbol of hatred and a reminder of senseless deaths that happened to around 6 million Jewish people.

With these conflicting messages in one symbol, an explanation to their supporters — old and new ones that may come along — is in order. 

Kat Von D could have addressed this situation in her original anti-Semitic video.

She focused more on the original source of the anti-Semitic accusations against her without addressing the different factors that played into why people still believed the alleged rumors all of these years later. The anti-Semitic rumors did not live and die by a mean message on an old Kat Von D photo, which is why her only addressing the photo in her video left many of her critics with more questions. 

People have been questioning Kat Von D's anti-Semitic status for years based on the photo and in conjunction with other questionable situations.

Kat Von D was accused of writing an anti-Semitic message on a photo (which, to reiterate, she has denied was her doing) in 2008. She also dated Jesse James in 2011, who was repeatedly linked to anti-Semitic symbolism and actions before they dated and while they were together. To have those issues in your past and then to marry a man who has a swastika — largely known as an anti-Semitic symbol — on his neck will obviously lead some people to believe that you are indeed an anti-Semite, whether you are or not. 

Kat Von D fans also had questions about a lipstick she released in 2015. 

"@Sephora, why are you still selling Kat Von D products," one fan asked the Sephora retailer. "She has a shade called Selektion which means 'selection of inmates for execution or slave labor at an extermination or concentration camp', dated openly anti-Semitic guys, did an SS-themed photoshoot, & MORE."

For fair clarity, Revelist cannot confirm that a Kat Von D SS-themed photo shoot took place. We can confirm that the pink Selektion lipstick did exist and was promptly renamed after much backlash. People were offended by the Selektion shade name since it is a German word once largely used by Nazis to refer to their literal selection process of choosing which Jewish people to kill during the Holocaust. Kat Von D corrected the name, but it doesn't change the fact that it was yet another hint of anti-Semitism associated with her name.

All of these instances add up and to deny that this pattern exists is to dismiss a lot of people who could have been or were hurt by these events.

It is a human thing to be frustrated about being categorized as something you believe you are not.

photo: CW

However, if you want people to stop believing you are something that they have valid reasons to believe you are, then the best way to fix things is to acknowledge that you see how those conclusions were drawn. Then, you clear things up thoroughly instead of letting the questions linger. Reyes seemed to have a logical and ultimately true explanation for his controversial tattoo, so that could have been explained early on.

Now that Kat Von D and Rafael Reyes have spoken their pieces on the matter, it's up to fans to decide how to proceed.

There will be people who continue to support them. There will be people who will decide they still can't, and maybe there will be people who decided to stop supporting them after today. All of it is fine. As beauty fans and overall consumers, it's on you to put your coins behind what you are comfortable with. And that's that on that.