The online platform Nas Academy released on its Facebook page Thursday a video showing Whang-Od affixing her thumbprint on a piece of white document—a clear visual response to the claim of the tattoo artisan's grandniece Wednesday morning that the 104-year old was scammed.
The video came with a written statement that begins: “There has been a post circulating online regarding our beloved Whang-Od Academy. The post claims that Whang-Od has no knowledge of the Academy and that this is a scam.”
Whang-Od Academy refers to a series of pay-to-view classes that the famous tattoo artist was teaching via the Nas Academy online platform. It was taken down yesterday following the grandniece Gracia Palicas' complaint on Facebook.
The Nas Academy statement says it pitched the idea to Whang-Od’s family, being fans of the elderly artisan. “We love her. We love her traditions and are inspired by her,” says the post. The group also wants to “share her culture for future generations to appreciate and respect the ancient Kalinga tradition of mambabatok.” Mambabatok is essentially what those who practice the ancient art of tattooing in Kalinga are called.
According to the Nas Academy statement, Whang-Od and her family were present during the pitch and that they loved the idea, adding the family “have worked WITH US to build it, with Whang-Od teaching herself.” The post names Estella Palangdao, identified in the statement as Whang-Od’s trusted niece, as witness and translator of the contract's content. “This is the clearest evidence that it is not a scam and achieved the consent of her and her immediate family,” the statement continues.
“Everybody was compensated for their time, and for every sale the Whang-Od Academy generates, most of it went directly to her and her family,” the Nas Academy adds. “We just provided the technology and the marketing.”
The statement also implies that the Whang-Od classes might just go back up on the platform. “Out of respect for her family, we temporarily took down Whang-Od Academy while we resolve any issues that have arisen from these falsehoods.”