As Fox News reports, a photo of Lee posing with her husband, Donny Aaron, revealed the Nazi ink near his left elbow crease, prompting outrage and accusations of anti-Semitism and racism.
Andrea ‘KGB’ Lee’s husband has a swastika tattooed on his forearm. pic.twitter.com/NTntH0paRr
— Flyin’ Brian J (@FlyinBrianJ) June 2, 2018
According to another poster, Aaron also has SS bolts — another Nazi-era “hate symbol” identified by the Anti-Defamation League as a mark used by white supremacists — on his right arm, just below the elbow.
Got SS bolts on the other arm pic.twitter.com/8SRzlyvu5z
— Jason Payne Infinity War Grief Counselor (@Grapplnpolymath) June 2, 2018
Mixed martial arts fans were quick to react to the offensive symbol.
— Mick Doonan (@Th3Micktorious) June 2, 2018
— Margaret (@msj5005) June 4, 2018
Andrea Lee's husband doesn't think these KKK members are racist because the picture is in black and white. pic.twitter.com/VkPOUgiB5e
— Dave Madden (@DaveMMAdden) June 2, 2018
Lee initially responded to the backlash by firing off an angry tweet explaining that Aaron’s swastika tattoo dates back to his time in prison. Court records show that Aaron was convicted of negligent homicide for the 2005 fatal shooting of an unarmed black man, Ronald Jamison.
Lee defended the ink and called her critics “sensitive ass mofos.” She has since deleted the tweet.
It's just a Nazi tattoo. You "sensitive ass mofos." pic.twitter.com/RbQ6A6BHi6
— JE Snowden (@JESnowden) June 2, 2018
Aaron, meanwhile, tweeted that his tattoos “don’t define who I am” but claimed that getting them removed would make him look “even more redneck.”
Thank you. That’s what I’ve tried to do is reinvent my life. My scars bring this up from time to time but my tattoos don’t define who I am ppl say get it covered or removed. Trust me if this were possible I would. However it would end up looking even more red neck than it does. https://t.co/o02zuhibQJ
— Donny Aaron (@outlawmuaythai) June 2, 2018
Both Lee and Aaron have since issued longer statements, with Lee apologizing for causing offense with her first tweet about the controversy.
“The mistakes he made in his youth are not a representation of who he is today, which is a man that loves and respects everyone,” she said, adding that “the more I got to know him as a person, the less I noticed his skin.”
She went on to reiterate that neither she nor her husband have racist views.
Please read my full apology, this is to everyone who was upset or offended by me and my initial response. I sincerely apologize, it wasn’t thought out when I sent it, I deleted it immediately after I sent it when I was more rational and clear minded. forgive me pic.twitter.com/9td65xNAmo
— Andrea Lee (@AndreaKGBLee) June 3, 2018
Aaron’s statement regarding his “abhorrent tattoos” also dismissed accusations of racism, though he referenced the “sins” of his past. He again explained that tattoo removal was not “an option.”
Statement from Andrea Lee's coach/husband Donny Aaron about his tattoos: pic.twitter.com/vl6ciuru2t
— Alex Scaffidi (@alex_scaffidi) June 3, 2018
The couple have also retweeted supportive messages saying Aaron shouldn’t be held accountable for his past.
Everyone has a past. It's a shame today's society is so quick to point a finger without knowing details. I am a fan of your work & thst will not change. Live free!
— Pitbull (@PitbullLove1970) June 3, 2018
We all have a past but we should not all be defined by it. Anyone who has talked to or met Donny knows he’s an amazing stand up guy. Sure he had a rough past but the amount of effort he’s put in to change the man he used to be into the man he is now is amazing. https://t.co/c3rNIbLKGI
— Jag (@jagger_chadek) June 3, 2018
But others continue to question Aaron’s judgment in letting the ink stay put.
Not wanting to cover up SS bolts and swastika tattoos because they would look "even more redneck” is almost as pathetic as getting the tattoos in the first place. Cringeworthy excuse. https://t.co/z1czNNtPV4
— Karim Zidan (@ZidanSports) June 2, 2018
Andrea Lee's husband has multiple neo nazi themed tattoos and often posts about his dislike of Muslims on his social media. But it's allgood though, because the have an Asian friend and a Black friend. Nothing to see here folks. All is good. #UFCUtica
— Jordan Patu (@Jordan_Patu) June 2, 2018
Andrea Lee's husband:
-Has Nazi tattoos
-Went to prison for shooting an unarmed black man
-Constantly speaks of his dislike of Muslims on social media
-Fits right in with a lot of bald headed tatted MMA dudes
— Umar Lee (@UmarLeeIII) June 3, 2018
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