Tattoo Parlor Offers To Cover Up Hate Tattoos For FREE — Thousands Respond

We all make mistakes.

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Ever get a tattoo you regret? A shitty dolphin, an ex's name, or (God help you) a tramp stamp.

What if it was worse? What if your tattoo reflected the ugliest part of your life? What if the tattoo was a gang sign, a swastika, or a racial slur?

We all know that tattoos aren't entirely permanent — they can be removed — but the process is expensive, difficult, and painful. There are lots of reasons why people get hate tattoos and just as many why people feel like removing them isn't a possibility.


You make one stupid mistake and you are literally (and figuratively) branded with hate for the rest of your life.

That's what makes Southside Tattoo in Brooklyn Park, Maryland so special.

They want to make a difference in the world — one tattoo at a time.


Dave and Elizabeth Cutlip, owners of Southside Tattoo, were approached by a former gang member who wanted his face tattoo covered up now that he had removed himself from that life. 

Cutlip told the Washington Post, “I could see the hurt in his eyes." Unfortunately, because the tattoo was so prominent, they were unable to help that particular gentleman. However, it inspired them to turn to their Facebook page and make a remarkable offer.

If you have an offensive tattoo that you regret — a gang tattoo or anything with a racist message — their tattoo artists will cover-up that old hateful ink FOR FREE.

Anyone that has been under the needle knows that good tattoos often cost quite a bit of money. So the offer of free cover-ups — cover-ups that could potentially change a person's life — were an instant hit. The post was shared over 25,000 times and the requests came pouring in.


THOUSANDS of people reached out to Southside Tattoo asking for help in covering up old hateful tattoos, which really shows you the kind of impact those kinds of symbols can have on a person's life and psyche.

Cutlip, 49, dedicates Tuesdays to the free cover-ups and takes each person into consideration before attempting a new tattoo. 

Their mission is to erase hate. And who wouldn't be on board with that?


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Case in point — Casey Schaffer showed up at the shop with the words "White" on one arm, and "Power" on the other. Schaffer had spent one year in a prison facility and had the tattoo done to fit in. But now that he was out of jail and looking for work, the tattoo obviously posed an issue.

So the artists at Southside Tattoo covered up the "White" with flowers drawn by Schaffer's girlfriend. You can see the before and after photo here:

Washington Post


It's so inspiring to see this couple change people's lives who may not have been given a chance otherwise.

But it doesn't stop there.

The Cutlips subsequently created the Random Acts of Tattoo Project, a Go Fund Me campaign to raise money so OTHER tattoo shops around the country could offer the same cover-up services, free of charge.


Here's how they explain their mission:

What started as a small gesture to help our community has went world wide! Our goal was to help ex gang members in Baltimore cover their gang and racist tattoos so that they could get rid of the constant reminder of a past life. We have gotten hundreds of inquiries about work, some near, some far. We want to help as many people as possible, but know there are costs for supplies and travel. Our goal is to form a non profit collective of artists from all over the world and get people in need the services that they need for free! We have had an overwhelming request asking where donations could be made. We are truly humbled to have the ability to heal others through our art ... no strings attached. Our Facebook post reached almost 1 million people, so many kind word, and encouragement were sent our way. 100% of your donation will be used to fund this cause, and every penny is appreciated. Thanks for spreading the love♡ Sometimes people make bad choices, and sometimes people change. We, at Southside Tattoo would like to make a difference. If you, or someone you know has a tattoo that is GANG or RACIST related, and you want it covered ... WE WILL COVER IT FOR FREE. No questions asked. We believe that there is enough hate in this world and we want to make a difference. Please call the shop and set up a consultation with any of our artist. SPREAD LOVE NOT HATE♡ PLEASE SHARE♡ #eternalink #tatsoul #rinsecup #electrasyn #becritical #lifeisshortdostuffthatmatters

(They've currently raised $21,000 of their $60,000 goal.)

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Here are a few more examples of Southside Tattoo's amazing cover-ups:


What can we learn from this? How about love and acceptance? What about the healing power of redemption? Because it's hard to think of a better example of that than the work going on at Southside Tattoo.

We ALL deserve second chances, and it's empowering to see people getting theirs. THIS is how we make the world a better place. It doesn't take much to pay it forward, but the results can be remarkable.