Josh Hibbard is speaking out after his shocking elimination from episode 11 of “Ink Master: Rivals.” A returning contestant from Season 3 of the Spike reality show, the tattoo artist was sent home during the Tuesday, Nov. 11, episode after he admitted to smoking weed to deal with his anxiety.
A front-runner from the start of the competition, Josh’s elimination caused fans of the series to take to Twitter to voice their anger and create a movement with the “KeepJosh” hashtag. Unfortunately the viewer upset can’t bring Josh back – but that’s something he’s okay with. The artist took to his website to release a statement on his shocking departure from “Ink Master” Season 5:
“To My Fans,
I really appreciate all the support this season. You have no idea how much all the love you guys have given me throughout the show means to me. Throughout both seasons of Ink Master, I have learned more about myself as an artist and as a person than I could have asked for. This opportunity to compete has enabled me to test my boundaries and to communicate my art work and my point of view to millions of fans from around the world. Even though I wasn’t crowned Ink Master I feel that I have gained way more than a $100,000. With all the questions and controversy from my elimination, I feel it is necessary to explain that even though I was eliminated for a breach in my contract and rule violations, at no time during any part of the competition did I do something to undermine the competition or give myself an unfair edge. I competed fairly and used nothing but experience and skill. I was eliminated not for cheating, but for breaking a rule that was a conflict of my lifestyle. I feel no regret or remorse for my decisions, in fact, because of this experience I am more in favor [of] marijuana legalization. Even if the laws in Oregon allow me to smoke marijuana with out legal repercussion, I understand that I violated the rules of the competition. I hope I inspired other to stand up for who you are in a difficult situation. I feel very grateful to the production team and Spike TV for making me a part of this amazing competition.
Don’t be afraid to be an instigator,
Josh not only released a statement, but launched a Kickstarter campaign for Instigate Clothing, a company that “supports instigating positive change in your life.” The Kickstarter is aiming to raise $15,000 to purchase equipment, as well as t-shirts and hoodies for an initial print. T-shirt designs pictured on the page include a Shepard Fairey-inspired image of Josh and the brand name with a marijuana leaf over the “I.”