The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene confirmed to MTV News on Thursday (July 2) that someone has been sent to the tattoo parlor to investigate the incident. In a statement, the department said, "Only licensed tattoo artists can administer tattoos in the city according to the City's Health Code. We are sending someone to follow up on this."
TMZ reported that if the department decides to press charges against the pop star for tattooing someone without a license, she could face three misdemeanors, with penalties as much as $300 for the first offense, $500 for the second and $1,000 for the third offense. Additionally, sources told the Web site that in addition to Rihanna, East Side Ink could be facing fines as well if an investigation is opened.
Earlier on Thursday, MTV News spoke to East Side Ink owner Yadira, who said that Rihanna hadn't visited East Side with the intention of inking her long-time tattoo artist, BangBang, as well as two other artists at the parlor. Rihanna was there with a few friends and a bodyguard for "a few hours, just hanging out and joking," she said, and BangBang decided that he wanted the pop star to give him a tattoo. Yadira added, "We had a blast. It was so funny and cute."