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Kat Von D, a tattoo artist and model known for her makeup line, revealed via Instagram on Friday that she and her husband Leafar Seyer are expecting a baby. The celebratory news provoked the ire of the internet because Von D included another detail: She doesn’t plan on vaccinating her coming child.
In her post, Von D writes about the “unsolicited advice” she expected upon announcing her pregnancy. She lists things she thinks she and her husband will be judged for, including having a home birth, eating vegan, and being against vaccinations.
And, if you don’t know what it’s like to have the entire world openly criticize, judge, throw uninformed opinions, and curse you – try being an openly pregnant vegan on Instagram, having a natural, drug-free home birth in water with a midwife and doula, who has the intention of raising a vegan child, without vaccinations.
I knew the minute we announced our pregnancy that we would be bombarded with unsolicited advice. Some good and some questionable - unsolicited none the less. I also was prepared for the backlash and criticism we would get if we decided to be open about our personal approach to our pregnancy. My own Father flipped out on me when I told him we decided to ditch our doctor and go with a midwife instead. If you don’t know what it’s like have people around you think you are ridiculous, try being openly vegan. And, if you don’t know what it’s like to have the entire world openly criticize, judge, throw uninformed opinions, and curse you - try being an openly pregnant vegan on Instagram, having a natural, drug-free home birth in water with a midwife and doula, who has the intention of raising a vegan child, without vaccinations. My point being: I already know what it’s like to make life choices that are not the same as the majority. So your negative comments are not going influence my choices - actual research and educating myself will - which i am diligently doing. This is my body. This is our child. And this is our pregnancy journey. Feel free to follow me on here if you like what I’m about - whether it’s tattooing, lipstick, Animal Rights, sobriety, feminism, ridiculous gothiness, black flower gardening, cats, or my adorable husband. But if you don’t dig a certain something about what I post, i kindly ask that you press the unfollow button and move the fuck on. So before anyone of you feel inspired to tell me how to do this, I would appreciate you keeping your unsolicited criticism to yourself. More importantly, for those who have amazing positive energy to send my way, I will gladly and graciously receive it with love! X
A post shared by Kat Von D (@thekatvond) on
As Jezebel pointed out, the anti-vaccine attitude isn’t normally associated with vegan or animal rights advocacy, and she’s not associated with a generally anti-vaccine group like Scientology, so it’s unclear what led Von D to this belief. But as a public figure, the implications of her statement go beyond just the health of her own child.
Celebrities, most notably Jenny McCarthy, have been proven to have a direct impact on the number of parents opting out of vaccines. McCarthy’s campaign against the MMR vaccine, which she blamed in part for her son’s autism diagnosis, was followed by record numbers of measles cases in the U.S.
Vaccine rates have gone back up since a study linking MMR to autism was retracted, but anti-vaccine sentiment is still a major concern, especially in affluent areas.
Following her Instagram post, Von D appeared to lose support from many of her followers—and makeup customers.
kat von d made this long post on insta about being judged for her pregnancy/parenting choices and i was totally with it until she said she ISN’T VACCINATING. rip to my dreams of being able to look up to a cool vegan goth mom— allana (@allanainlights) June 8, 2018
Kat Von D just admitted to her 7 million followers that she won't be vaccinating her child, aka potentially endangering the health & safety of her child and others around them. Don't support her brand. There are plenty of makeup brands out there that do not spread anti-vax lies.— Alicia (@DiddlyDonger) June 8, 2018
Is it wrong that reading that Kat Von D is choosing to not vaccinate her kid makes me not want to buy anything from her brand again?— underwhelming chicken breast (@xsparkage) June 8, 2018
I guess I found my line in the sand as far as what makes me take a stand 🤷🏼♀️
Anyway Kat Von D is not vaccinating her kid so I unfollowed her lol— anna (@annathropology) June 8, 2018
Kris Seavers is the IRL editor for the Daily Dot. Her work has appeared in Central Texas publications, including Austin Monthly and San Antonio Magazine, and on NPR.