LANCASTER, Ohio - Sometimes a person gets a tattoo in their youth and regrets it when they get older.
For those who have gotten a hate-themed tattoo like a Nazi symbol, Modified Studios owner Rich Regal will give them a free cover-up tattoo as part of Project Hate Cover-Up. The new tattoo may feature some aspects of the old one, but it will be a new tattoo.
"You go out in public and you can't take your shirt off because you're afraid to offend somebody because of your tattoo," he said. "And rightfully so, you shouldn't be offending that person. If I can do my part to get rid of that so that you can feel more comfortable and so that the people around you can feel more comfortable, then why wouldn't I facilitate that?"
However, he's limiting it to five people. But he is urging other local tattoo shops to do the same.
"Basically, what we're trying to do is spread love," Regal said. "Everybody, obviously we know, is pointing fingers at everybody else."
He said he got the idea from friend and fellow tattoo artist, Scott Fate, who had covered a swastika of someone going into the military for free.
Regal put the offer on Facebook on Wednesday and said the post quickly went viral.
"What I'm looking for is very visible ones (tattoos)," Regal said. "I don't want to disclude anybody, but at the same time I don't want to do free tattoos for the rest of my life. And in the way it went, in the matter of an hour it looked like I was going to be doing free tattoos from the rest of my life."
Regal said it sickens him to get on social media and see so many people hating each other who were friends a year ago. That's why he made the announcement of his project on social media.
"The initial thing was to get as much hate off of social media as possible," Regal said. "It just doesn't make any sense to me at all. I mean it does. I get it. I understand why everybody feels they're being attacked. And when you attack, you attack back. But that's not fixing the problem. And sitting on Facebook and pointing the finger is not fixing the problem."
Lancaster resident Cody Farmer on Thursday was making an appointment with Regal to get a Nazi swastika covered up. He said he got the tattoo while in prison and wants to cover it with a skull. Farmer is 26 and got the tattoo when he was 21.
"I've grown out of that thinking," he said. "I don't believe in it anymore. It's been blown out of proportion, and I just don't believe it."
Farmer said it was "kind of easy to fall into" when getting the swastika. He also said family beliefs growing up contributed to getting it.