Ink Master judge Oliver Peck mutually parted ways with Paramount Network after pictures of himself dressed in blackface resurfaced. The first contestant eliminated from Season 13, Nychelle Elise, took to Instagram to express her belief that she went home due to Peck’s racist past.
Oliver Peck left ‘Ink Master’ after racist pictures resurfaced
On January 2, 2020, TMZ obtained old photos of Dallas-based tattoo artist Oliver Peck, dressed up in blackface for several different Halloween costumes.
For example, he wore blackface with an afro and superhero costume with “N” on the chest. Additionally, Peck dressed as a Lakers basketball player, again with an afro and covered in black makeup.
He also uploaded pictures of himself to his old MySpace account, applying the dark makeup over his tattoo-covered body. As a result, several people began calling for the tattoo artist’s firing.
After a week, Peck released a statement explaining that he and the producers will mutually part ways after 13 seasons. The Dallas tattoo artist also acknowledged the resurfaced photos, noting, “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.”
Even though Peck and Paramount Company have parted ways, he will still appear in the 13th season as it was filmed months ago.
The first contestant eliminated, Nychelle Elise
Ink Master Season 13 premiered on January 7, 2020, with a “turf war” theme. This season, the artists compete in groups based on their hometowns and include two returning players.
For the first challenge, the contestants had to tattoo the shape of their state and could incorporate any design using any style. An artist from the South, Nychelle Elise, landed in the bottom after her Texas-based tattoo failed to impress.
She then had to compete in a sudden showdown with seven other artists and draw a patriotic tattoo with whatever style and imagery. Elise chose to tattoo the Liberty Bell, and again the judges were not impressed.
Peck thought it had an “unfinished feel to it” and lacked “rich, solid black.” The argument came down to Elise against Jason Elliott, and Dave Navarro, along with Peck, decided to eliminate the Dallas-based artist.
Nychelle Elise believes Oliver Peck’s racist past caused her elimination
After her elimination, Elise took to Instagram to post the tattoos she drew and other behind-the-scene photos from Ink Master. In her caption, she thanked “the crew” for allowing her to compete on the show and said she “learned a lot” from her team.
Elise also pointed out that “the decision” to eliminate her “may have been biased due to the recent events.” She explained, “Oliver definitely wanted me to go home before Dave said a thing lol. Oliver persuaded Dave to get me off the show lol. Makes sense now.”
Elise also called the former judge out, writing, “Oliver made fun of it a lot more than what was shown. It’s all good Oliver I forgive you for your ignorance.”
The artist ended by writing, “Hopefully in the future, a female tattoo artist of color will make it further than the first few episodes now that the bad apple has been removed. Racism, bigotry, and sexual violence should never be tolerated in any capacity.”
Season 12 contestant Elva Stefanie commented on her post in support, writing, “It’s a beautiful piece, babe! Don’t worry, Oli was the same person that voted me down. S**t happens. Different opinions. It’s smooth and clean, and your work speaks for itself!”
Watch Ink Master Tuesdays at 10 p.m. EST on the Paramount Network.