It seemed like a good idea at the time.
Robert Dello Russo said that to get a little publicity for his barber and tattoo shop, Boston Barber & Tattoo Co. — and to have a little fun — he’d offer free tattoos the day after the election to those who wanted a tattoo about the president-elect, whether that was Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton. So on Wednesday, he put up a couple posts on the shop’s Twitter and Facebook pages to come and get ’em.
According to Dello Russo, within 20 minutes, a line of 15 or so people had formed to get tattoos of Trump or his campaign slogan “Make America Great Again.” But an equal number of people came to the shop to harrass him and the tattoo artists for supporting Trump. Dello Russo said he also received disparaging comments on the social media posts about the event and threatening e-mails. He later deleted the posts.
“Twenty minutes. It was an explosion,” he said. “I had to kick everyone out.” He said he was afraid that the crowd would get violent, and that the tattoo artists said they didn’t feel safe.
In the brief time the event lasted, one tattoo was completed.
Dello Russo, who said he’s a registered Democrat, said he genuinely believed that hosting the event wouldn’t be a problem, given that his North End barber shop is always welcoming.
“Barber shops are historically segregated,” he said. “I pride myself on being inclusive. Everyone is welcome and everyone welcomes each other. [What happened today] isn’t what I intended.”
For what it’s worth, Dello Russo says he apologizes if he offended people.
“It was supposed to be fun. I don’t know why anyone got so upset. I’m just a tattoo shop.”