The 19-year-old father who gained international fame for his ill-considered facial tattoo has decided to keep it after finally finding a job.
Mark Cropp had trouble finding work after having “DEVAST8” inked across the entire lower half of his face after a long night of drinking in jail.
Cropp posted a desperate plea on Facebook that quickly went viral worldwide. He received at least 45 job offers, most of which were outside his home country, New Zealand.
A laser technician offered to remove the tattoo free of charge. Cropp began the treatment back in July. He was scheduled to receive as many as 12 sessions—worth over $2,200, according to the New Zealand Herald.
But now that he’s found construction work, Cropp changed his mind about the tattoo.
Cropp was sentenced to jail in 2015 for pulling a knife on a tourist during a drug deal. While in jail, he shared a cell with his brother. The two drank together and started tattooing.
His brother made a needle by straightening a string, attached it to a gun made from a cassette player and used ink made from a concoction of melted plastic cutlery, toothpaste, and water.
“Once it was started, I thought, I can’t go back on it now,” Cropp told the Herald. “I wish I had stopped while the outline was there, to be quite honest.”
Briar Neville, the laser technician, heard Cropp’s story and decided to help free of charge.
“What we do is give people a clean slate. When I read Mark’s story and the discrimination he had faced, it really spoke to me,” Neville said at the first tattoo removal session.
The Sacred Laser, a tattoo removal shop where Neville works, was disappointed to learn that Cropp has changed his mind. But their offer still stands in case he changes his mind again.
When contacted about his change of mind, Cropp replied by text via a partner to say “he doesn’t want any more removed as he just wanted a job” and that he has one, he wants to stay out of the media.