TikTok Tattoogate: Award-winning tattoo artist vows to ‘fix the wrongs’ for woman at centre of scandal

Tattoo artist Matt Vaught (left) has vowed to ‘fix’ a situation for Courtney Monteith, who paid thousands of dollars for tattoo consultations (TikTok/Courtney Monteith/Matt Vaught)
Tattoo artist Matt Vaught (left) has vowed to ‘fix’ a situation for Courtney Monteith, who paid thousands of dollars for tattoo consultations (TikTok/Courtney Monteith/Matt Vaught)

The woman who prompted huge interest in a particular tattoo artist named Lindsay Joseph of Lucid Tattoos has shared a new update on the ongoing saga.

Courtney Monteith first posted about her experience on TikTok on 10 May, in which she detailed her consultations with Joseph that cost her thousands of dollars and resulted in a tattoo sketch that did not meet her expectations.

The mother-of-three said that after several back-and-forths with Joseph, she ended up paying a total of US$2,695, including a non-refundable consultation, the design fee, and the deposit for the actual tattoo. The tattoo artist operated a tiered tattoo pricing system that could see customers being charged up to US$6,000, not including the price of the actual tattoo.

Since Monteith posted her videos on TikTok, they have gone viral and the entire episode has been labelled #Tattoogate. Other TikTokers have also spoken out about similar experiences with Joseph, with one woman claiming she was “basically scammed” out of US$4,000.

Now, award-winning tattoo artist Matt Vaught, who is based in Newport Beach, California, has offered to “make things right” by designing a new tattoo and tattooing Monteith.

In a TikTok video, he did not name Joseph but described the situation as “an ever-developing tale of a tattoo artist swindling people out of money”, adding: “Running a scam selling people their most expensive traced sketches.”

“I want to fix this,” Vaught continued. “I’ve been working together alongside my sponsors H2Ocean and my manager Jenn Lee and we are going to fly this young woman out to Los Angeles, California, and I am going to tattoo this fox.

“Because she’s already out multiple thousands of dollars, I’m going to do this for free. That’s right, completely free. I really just want to fix the wrong that has been done, and I also love tattooing foxes. She also came across very honest and genuine and she’s a mother, it’s Mother’s Day,” he said in the video posted on Sunday (14 May).


#stitch with @cmonteith Me and @H2Ocean are going to make this right. #tattoogate #tattoogate2023 #tattootiktok

♬ original sound - Matt Vaught

In a previous video, Vaught commented on the situation and said that while he was not there to “bash” the tattoo artist in question, he added: “This really sucks, when you’re charging people thousands of dollars for a sketch that probably took you five minutes. It really progresses the distrust that people have for tattoo artists, it’s not helping things at all. It’s just greedy.”

Monteith posted a response to Vaught’s offer, describing the last five days as a “crazy, emotional journey”.

She said that although she had not been angling for a free tattoo, which she had spoken about in a previous video, Vaught reached out to her because the story “really upset him”.

“Matt is an award-winning artist, his realism and his animal artwork makes me think I’m going to get a fox tattoo that even I couldn’t have dreamed of,” she added.

However, she said that the idea of getting a tattoo for free still made her “uncomfortable”, adding: “I am still going to make a donation to a fox rescue, so if you guys have any suggestions, let me know. I don’t want to be the only one benefitting from this, I want the foxes to get benefitted as well.”

In the comment section, viewers reassured Monteith that she deserved the gift tattoo after what she had gone through.

“Momma you’re not getting it for free! You paid MORE than enough,” one person wrote, while another added: “You didn’t want something for free. Giving is easy, but you have to learn to receive as well. It’s OK to accept kindness. You deserve it.”

A third said: “I’m so happy the universe aligned and is gifting you with the tattoo you deserve!”

Joseph has made her Instagram account private since #Tattoogate went viral and has not released any statement or comment.

The Independent has contacted her for comment.