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Ink Master has been pitting tattoo artists against each other in reality TV competition on Paramount (and Spike before that) since 2012, but now the show is losing one of its longtime fixtures in the form of judge Oliver Peck. Peck was a judge on Ink Master for 12 full seasons before old photos of him in blackface makeup surfaced online, prompting him to exit the series.
Photos of Oliver Peck in blackface were apparently previously posted on his MySpace account, and they began making the social media rounds again in early 2020. They generated some seriously negative buzz for Peck and Ink Master, and it wasn't long before news broke that Peck would no longer be part of the show.
In comments to TMZ, Oliver Peck stated that the parting of ways was a mutual decision between him and Ink Master, saying this:
After filming 13 great seasons of Ink Master, the producers and I have decided it’s best to part ways. The offensive photos of me which recently surfaced from many years ago can only be a distraction to the amazing show I have loved being a part of and its many talented artists. I want to thank the show’s cast, crew, contestants and awesome fans. It’s been a blast and an honor and I wish my friends and colleagues the very best in whatever the future holds.
Oliver Peck's statement regarding his departure from Ink Master shows no sign of bitterness or begrudging, so it's possible the show will indeed be able to move past what has happened after dealing with the controversy quickly and decisively. Peck isn't the only person in showbiz whose career was affected by a blackface controversy.
Although Oliver Peck refers to the photos from many years ago as "offensive," he doesn't actually apologize in the statement addressing his departure from Ink Master. That's not to see he's not sorry, however, as he posted a lengthy apology on his Instagram page shortly after the photos resurfaced.
Take a look, and be sure to click through to the second page of the message:
There is now the question of whether Oliver Peck is gone for good all at once or if Ink Master viewers can expect to see him on screen again. He had a key role as a judge for the first 12 seasons of the series, and no replacement has been announced at this point. Filming for Season 13 had already commenced by the time the photos resurfaced and Peck's departure was announced; perhaps footage of Peck will appear throughout Season 13.
Or perhaps Ink Master will just proceed without Oliver Peck, add a replacement judge as soon as possible, and the reality competition series will return to business as usual, simply with somebody else in Peck's place. For now, new episodes of Ink Master will air Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET on Paramount. The network itself has done quite well over the past year. If you're still in the market for some other series this midseason, swing by our 2020 winter and spring premiere schedule.