Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush is acknowledged by guests after delivering remarks at a Reagan Forum at Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif., Aug. 11, 2015. 
Photo by Mario Anzuoni/Reuters

Did this guy really get a ‘Jeb 4 Prez’ neck tattoo?


Vic Berger IV is a video editor with a unique online personality, creating odd videos on the looping video app Vine. In late July, Berger pledged on Twitter that if one awkward Vine clip he made of Jeb Bush talking about Apple products reached a million views, he’d get “Jeb 4 Prez” tattooed across his neck.

On Tuesday, Berger took to social media to proclaim that he’d followed through with pledge to get his Jeb-themed tattoo. Berger also tweeted photos he claimed were additional proof to TIME reporter Tanya Basu who’s written about Berger’s pledge.

Skeptics have responded to Berger’s claim calling the tattoo a fake. MSNBC spoke with a veteran tattoo artist who is among those doubting the tattoo’s authenticity. “It’s very difficult to tattoo a neck and have it look that clean immediately after,” said the artist who asked not to be named out of respect for Berger’s tattoo artist. Our expert says a new tattoo would have some redness, look more raw, and would be shiny due to the ointments artists use to cover newly tattooed flesh.

Speaking with The Huffington Post this week, Berger said, “The people on Twitter commenting on my neck tattoo weren’t there. Talk to the artist at Steel City Tattoo if you want.”

Taking Berger up on that offer, msnbc spoke with Elvis Lewis at Steel City Tattoo who said he didn’t know much about Berger’s online pledge at the time. Lewis said, ”This man came into my store, he paid me $350 dollars, and I tattooed his neck.”

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When asked directly three separate times if he tattooed the phrase “Jeb 4 Prez” on Berger’s neck, Lewis would only reply, “I tattooed his neck.”

Berger asserted in a later conversation with msnbc that his tattoo is in fact real. “You have my photos, you talked to the tattooist,” he stated. “I’m not sure what more I could do to convince you.”

When asked for more photos showing the tattoo session in progress to prove its authenticity, Berger told msnbc “I don’t have the energy for this anymore, I’m sorry you don’t believe me.”

The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell, 11/29/12, 7:00 PM ET

Romney tattoo guy bails

The guy who got the Romney-Ryan campaign logo tattooed on his face decides to get it lasered off because it stands for a “sore loser.”
The guy who got the Romney-Ryan campaign logo tattooed on his face decides to get it lasered off because it stands for a “sore loser.”
Berger also said he wasn’t sure why his tattoo artist would not answer our direct question calling that “strange behavior.”

Berger’s story is reminiscent of the very real tattoo Eric Hartsburg got of Mitt Romney’s logo on the side of his face during the 2012 campaign. That was a decision Hartsburg wound up regretting, and he had that tattoo lasered off his face.

It’s worth noting that Berger claims on his site to have worked in the past with comedians Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim.