Kat Von D Lawsuit Explained: Employee Was Allegedly Asked to ‘Work Illegally’
Kat Von D is being sued by one of her former employees who claims that the controversial tattoo artist tried to make her staff "work illegally" during 2020's COVID-19 lockdown.
Stephanie Davidson, a former manager at Von D's since-closed High Voltage Tattoo shop, alleges that she was fired two weeks after speaking to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health and California Governor's Office about the apparent lack of safety measures at the shop, according to Insider.
In a complaint filed this month, Davidson is seeking unspecified damages. She claims to have faced retaliation and unlawful termination among other alleged wrongs at the hands of her former boss.
The complaint alleges that Von D wanted to secretly reopen her famous West Hollywood shop before tattoo parlors were allowed to resume business in California. Doing so would have violated Stay at Home orders in the state at the time.
"Today the barber shop is open for business and I don't understand why we are unable to open," Von D allegedly said in a message shared with her employees. "I cannot stand by and let high voltage die, and need to get back to work even if it's just for appointments for the time being."
Davidson alleges that Von D — who previously denied that she is an anti-vaxxer — "questioned whether the pandemic was real" in text messages sent to High Voltage staff during lockdown.
She also claims that Von D "dismissed" concerns about safety protocols upon reopening. Von D reportedly refused to wear a mask, said as much to her staff and compared mask-wearing to putting a "maxi pad on your face."
Davidson claims that when the shop was allowed to reopen, Von D was uninterested in safety and did little to assuage concerned employees.
The complaint also alleges that Von D complained about an employee who she said lived "a state of fear based on mainstream media narrative" about the pandemic.
Davidson's attorneys assert that Von D put profits over safety in a statement shared with Insider.
"She intentionally and unlawfully ignored state laws and regulations created to protect both workers and the public," the attorneys say. "No matter what any business owner's beliefs may be, you cannot ignore the law and force employees to choose between risking their health or keeping their job. When you do, there are consequences. She will be held accountable for her malicious actions."
Representatives for Von D did not return requests for comment from Insider. At the time of publishing, it does not appear she has spoken publicly about the lawsuit.
High Voltage Tattoo has since been closed
While the company's website is still up and running, High Voltage been silent on social media for weeks.
In the shop's last Instagram post, dated Dec. 2, Von D thanked her team, new and old, for their dedication to the business over the years.
"I personally want to thank my fellow artists and shop managers who I’ve been lucky enough to work alongside and who have become my tattoo family over these beautiful years," she wrote in a caption accompanying a photo of her posing with the then-current lineup of artists.
"Thank you for showing me what it’s like to be truly loved and supported. I will love you until the end of time," she added.
Check out the post below.