Ami James was a star when he was cast as Miami Ink in 2005, which was one of the first reality TV programs on TLC.
The tattoo artist, who is Jewish and served in the Israeli military, starred alongside Kat Von D, who became a prominent beauty vlogger in the years following and created her own very successful self-titled cosmetics company, which has now been sold.
Kat, who has nine million Instagram followers was at the center of controversy. She quit the show after three seasons in order to start LA Ink, her spin-off.
Kat was accused of making antisemitic comments about Ami during the time. TMZ was given a headshot by Kat, which Kat allegedly signed with the words, ‘Burn In Hell Jewbag.’ TMZ also got a hand-drawn swastika as well as a flaming Star of David.
TMZ reported TLC had done handwriting analysis. It was informed that Kat made the comments on Kat’s headshot. TLC strongly refuted these claims.
TLC decided not further action due to the inability to prove Kat. LA Ink aired a month later.
Daily Mail Australia asked Ami to confirm that Kat made antisemitic statements against him. Ami said, “Many people do.” [make anti-Semitic comments]You can let it be.
The tattoo artist said that Kat and him ‘never had a friendship.
He explained, “She was brought in during the production process, and we have never had any experience like that.” It is easy to move on, no matter what happens.
The 50-year-old spoke with Daily Mail Australia at the Australian Tattoo Expo. It runs from March 10-12 at Sydney’s International Convention Centre (ICC).
He said he always loved drawing and got his first tattoo in his young teens, and by the early 90s, when Ami would’ve been in his early 20s, he was almost fully tattooed.
At that time, tattoos were very stigmatized. Former reality TV star said that tattoos are more common today because of social media and conventions.
He stated that he had been arrested numerous times for having tattoos.
“If you traveled with tattoos you were forced to choose a certain genre.
“And even mine, they would put band-aids on me because I would just look at them and be like, “Come With Us to the Back Room.”
Ami stated that this was back in the 1990s, and that he can’t remember tattooing anyone in the 80s.
He said that tattooing my neck was the worst thing he had done.
It was almost like looking at the neck of a glass. It just got easier. It’s easy for people to forget that they have their faces tattooed on the necks.
They assumed that you were a member of a gang or would jump to conclusion that you belonged to a street gang, fight club or other gang. You were not invited in countries that looked like this.
“And I’ve talked to old-timers who have dealt with it over the years.
“But, you are right, it was something I witnessed firsthand. It was awful. And now you see everybody like I walk into the immigration and the f**king guy wants to get tattooed by me.’
Ami, who owns four tattoo parlors in New York, London, Cork and Ireland, was able, despite being from the wrong side, to become a tattoo artist.
His brother’s friend was his inspiration, and he allowed him to live with him. He also gave him his first tattoo gun.
Unfortunately, he took his own life just one year later.
“Yeah, I got into trouble with my brother and then he kicked us out of our house when we were out of trouble so I went to live in the home of his best friend,” he said.
“They had given me a tattoo machine for my birthday. It was 31 year ago.
“I was 18 years old when I got my first tattoo. I was also there. I was tattooed in the service by a friend, and he eventually walked me out of the tattoo machine.
“So while he was arguing outside with his girlfriend, I just picked up the tattoo machine and put a gloves to it. And then I began tattooing myself.
“And at that point, I knew this was what I wanted for my whole life.” However, I had served two-and-a half years in the Army.
Ami, a former soldier in Israel’s military, decided to return to the USA and start tattooing. But he wasn’t sure where to start.
“Through that search, of getting lost, and finding no good, someone eventually lent their arm.
“It was an honor to have my brother’s friend there. But he was able to hang himself a full one year later.
“It was like there were a few light rays at its end. That was all.
“And, they gave me that machine. It was everything I wanted to do.
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