Some celebrity tattoos cause quite a stir. That was certainly the case with Julia Louis-Dreyfus' body art, which was etched on her back for the recent cover of Rolling Stone magazine. True to the publication's form, the photo was pretty provocative, with the comedienne posing sans clothing, looking over her shoulder and proudly showing off an enormous back piece. That's not what shocked viewers and had social media buzzing, however. In fact, it was the inaccuracy of the tatt that had people up in arms.
An embarrassing error
So what was the subject of this controversial ink? The Los Angeles Times reported that the magazine had the preamble to the U.S. constitution emblazoned on Louis-Dreyfus' back for the issue, which hits newsstands April 11. Unfortunately, there was one major oversight that caused an uproar from history buffs. While John Hancock's scrawled signature is displayed prominently on the bottom of the tatt, the truth is that he didn't sign that document. His signature can, however, be found on the Declaration of Independence. According to the news outlet, it was The Washington Examiner's hyper-observant Justin Green that did some investigating and realized Rolling Stone's oversight. Green wasn't the only one who noticed the error, either.
The Constitution Center posted a photo on Twitter of the actual document cover.
"George Washington to @RollingStone – Thanks for the shout out but no Hancock here (picture from Signers' Hall)," read the tweet.
Explanations and excuses
Naturally, it was time for Rolling Stone to respond. A spokesman for the magazine pointed out that this situation actually captures the "farcical tone" of Louis-Dreyfus' hit HBO series "Veep," calling the false signature an "Easter egg for fans of the show." In addition, The NY Daily News noted that another rep for the magazine attributed the blunder to the challenge of squeezing all of the text in the Declaration of Independence onto the back tattoo.
"The Declaration of the Independence is on the other side but we couldn't fit in all the signatures," explained Wenner Media Publicity Director Melissa Bruno.
Meanwhile, Louis-Dreyfus took a different approach in responding to the mishap via Twitter. Unsurprisingly, she made an attempt to add some lighthearted humor to the scenario, even going so far as to jokingly blame the mistake on Mike McClintock, her fictional communications director on "Veep."
Hopefully the back piece is only temporary – inaccurate ink is grounds for some major tattoo regret – and definitely cause for laser tattoo removal. As for the actress on the cover, Louis-Dreyfus likely only generated more publicity for her show, so there was likely no harm done in terms of her career. One thing is for sure, however: The glaring inaccuracy – as well as the negative press it generated – is sure to inspire the magazine to be more scrutinizing in their fact-checking going forward. Fact-checking is a crucial aspect of good journalism, and surely, many publications have learned from Rolling Stone's mistake.
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* Source: Harris Interactive, 2012