When Rihanna tatooed a few of the tattoo artists at East Side Ink in New York on Wednesday night, she may not have realized what she was doing was illegal.
The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene confirmed to MTV News on Thursday (July 2) that someone has been sent to the tattoo parlor to investigate the incident. In a statement, the department said, "Only licensed tattoo artists can administer tattoos in the city according to the City's Health Code. We are sending someone to follow up on this."
The people who received the tattoos were themselves licensed tattoo artists. They of all people should be able to decide for themselves if they want an "unlicensed" person to give them a tattoo- in their own studio, and with their own equipment.
Apparently the event was not witnessed by anyone from the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (is it the health of the person receiving the tattoo, or the "mental hygiene" that this department is worried about?), but there were photos taken, and those photos have appeared on the internet:
Naturally, this sent the intrepid New York Health and Mental Hygiene group into "protect the public" mode.
Back in 2006 another popular female musical performer, Britney Spears, was photographed doing something that violated the law- something that was slightly more disturbing than giving a small tattoo to a consenting adult.
She drove on the freeway in Los Angeles with her baby in her lap:
Her punishment for this, according to TMZ, was- nothing.
The L.A. County Sheriff's Department did not pursue the case against Spears, because the offense requires that an officer witness it and that didn't happen. The Department of Children and Family Services paid a visit to Spears after the incident but we're told no formal action was taken.
Even if she'd been found guilty of violating the law against not putting your child in a car seat- and clearly based on this photo that is exactly what she did- the most she would have gotten was a $100 fine.
Rihanna could be facing a full $1,800 in fines for the three small tattoos that she gave.
I guess the lesson to be learned here is, if you're going to violate the law, and be photographed in the process, do it in Los Angeles. And for crying out loud, endanger the safety of a small and helpless baby on the open road, not a consenting adult in the comfort and safety of his own tattoo parlor.
Britney child abuse photo source.
Rihanna photo source.