Strange Sagas

Hostgator M. Dotcom Is Finally Free from His Porn Face Tats

VICE readers donated thousands of dollars to the Alaska man, who's now happy and healthy.
June 19, 2017, 4:00pm
Billeder via Billy Gibby / Grafik af Lia Kantrowitz

Two years ago, I wrote a story about Alaska resident Billy Gibby, who became mildly famous for selling more than 20 parcels of his face to porn companies. Although he looked like a horny Batman villain and frequently terrified little old ladies in Anchorage grocery stores, Hostgator M. Dotcom (his legal name since 2010) wanted me to know that he was actually a good dude who gave his kidney to a stranger he met online before he ever became a human billboard.

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When we spoke, Gibby spun a tale of how poverty and mental illness led to him to get things like "Dr. FR3AK.COM" and "PORNFIDELITY.COM" scrawled across his face. VICE readers were touched by his story, and ended up donating more than $6,600 to Gibby for laser removal treatments in the hope that he would one day be able to get a job and support his family in a more sustainable line of work.

Gibby sent me an email out of the blue last week and told me the crowdfunding effort had been a success—he's apparently gotten all the tattoos scrubbed off the parts of his face that can't be covered up with a cap. His name is still legally Hostgator, and he still wants to clean up his hands and arm, but it seems like he's infinitely happier and healthier than when we last spoke.

VICE: So, how many sessions have you been to, and how many do you have left?
Hostgator: I'm trying to think of how many [sessions] I've probably been to. Between 20 and 30, I think. For my face, I'm not sure how many I have left. They never give me an exact number, because everyone's skin is different, and they aren't sure how it'll react to the laser. I don't think it'll be too many more.

So people aren't looking at you strangely anymore, I take it?
Not as much anymore. It's such a relief, because like it felt so awkward just going into stores, and people looking at you like you're going to steal stuff or kill them, and you're thinking, Thee last thing I want to do is hurt anybody. So now it's so less stressful when I go shopping or go anywhere.

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I remember your daughter was upset that you were going to get your tattoos removed because that was the only way she recognized your face—how does she feel about it now?
She's cool with it now, but, yeah, you're right at first she was like, Why are you getting them taken off? I don't want you to. And she would get all mad and stuff, but she's really cool about it now. I go on all of her field trips, and that would've been really hard with all of those tattoos on there. I don't think I would've wanted to with all of the tattoos on there because the parents would've probably looked at me like I was going to kill their kids or whatever.

We've been to the zoo, to the performing arts center to see The Nutcracker, and then the Anchorage Museum. We've been to parks, picnics, just a bunch of museum-type places. She's eight now; she'll be going into third grade.

You mentioned that you're working now. Can you tell me how that happened?
When I had a bunch of the tattoos, it got to the point where I was really depressed, almost suicidal, because of the stress of how I felt my face looked so bad, and the reaction of people judging. So it got to the point where I got almost suicidal, and I got kind of scared, so I went to get help at the local behavioral health center, and they diagnosed me with bipolar. I got medication and went to therapy and stuff, and I started to feel a lot better with my depression and stuff.

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I didn't have a criminal record or anything; they offered me a job delivering medical records to the different buildings they had, so I did that, and then they promoted me to peer support specialist. I used my experience with bipolar to help other people with their ailments. So I did that for a while, and then recently I was promoted from that to case manager.

So what does that mean. What's your day to day like?
So I work with mentally ill individuals, and I help them find housing in the community, like a lot of them are homeless and stuff, and I help them get into housing. I help them get food at food banks, take them to doctor's appointments, schedule their appointments, be their advocate when they go to the doctor's and stuff. I help them get medication. Sometimes I'll have to go pick them up from jail or the psychiatric center and try to get them into assisted living homes. And just, the sickly, take care of their caseloads and help them gain access to resources in the community.

What's the next step?
I'm wanting now to get the ones off my hands, and my neck, and my head—that's going to be my next step. If I get them that way I can move up in the company, and I've been wanting to kind of go back to school pretty soon so I can maybe become a counselor or something like that: a health counselor or a substance abuse counselor, and it'll be nice to have more of a professional look without tattoos on my hands and neck and stuff too.

I'm curious as to what your stance is on tattoos now. If your kids got tattoos, would you be upset?
That's funny. I actually don't like them on me, but I think they're cool on other people. Obviously if they wanted to get them on their face, I would be like, "Please don't do that. I did that, and it was a bad mistake." But if they got them anywhere else I would be cool with it, but I would just tell them make sure it's what you want.

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