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Hostgator Dotcom, the Man Covered in Porn URLs, Is Getting His Face Back Thanks to VICE Readers

Our recent profile of him led to the man formerly known as Billy Gibby getting $3,200 in donations, which he's using to remove his facial tattoos.

by Allie Conti
29 May 2015, 6:30pm

All photos courtesy of Hostgator Dotcom

When Hostgator M. Dotcom went to the dermatologist yesterday, he had to lie to his daughter. Although she can't possibly understand what they mean, the six-year-old has come to love the porn URLs that cover her daddy's face. After all, she's never seen her father without them. But Princess could apparently intuit the excitement of the day—she knew something big was happening. "You're not going to get those tattoos removed, are you daddy?" she said as her human-billboard dad headed out the door.

"I was like, 'Oh, shoot,' because I don't wanna lie to her," Dotcom says. "I told her they're not going away, because I didn't want her to scream and stuff."

As much as Dotcom, neé Billy Gibby, loves his kids, getting the tattoos off was something he had to do. The Anchorage resident's transition into a human billboard began with an act of altruism, when he sold some skin so he could pay to donate a kidney to a Californian woman he met online. But then he fell on hard times and kept auctioning off his body, even his name, to keep his family off the streets. Eventually, his face was covered with URLs, some of them for porn companies, which made it hard for him to find traditional employment. Dotcom, who suffers from mental illness, has been trying to put his life back on track, so last month he reached out to VICE for help, and readers responded by donating more than $3,200 to his cause.

On Motherboard: This Temporary E-Tattoo Creates Power from Your Sweat

He went for his first 45-minute removal session yesterday. Though he's fought as a boxer and obviously gone under the needle a lot, Dotcom says the session hurt more than anything he's ever experienced. "It's like way worse than getting a tattoo because you can smell your dead skin and whatnot when they burn it," he told me. "[The doctors] always told me that it kinda feel like when you're cooking and the grease splats on you, but over and over and over for the whole 45 minutes."

Right now, the 34-year-old looks like he's had the shit beaten out of him. Although he looks undeniably better than when he was branded with defunct porn sites, boiling blisters and red splotches cover his mug. His daughter thinks he was punched in the face. She'll probably figure out the truth when he goes again for another session in six to eight weeks. Dotcom says the money will be enough to take care of all the ink on his face and will provide for some preliminary sessions on his neck as well.

"I'm not really used to a lot of people being that nice," he says. "Usually when I read comments on stories about me, people say things like, 'That guy's a fucking idiot,' or 'That guy's stupid,' and things like that." Although some people dropped as much as $300 for the cause, he says the comments were made him smile even more than the money.

For the better part of a decade, people have treated Dotcom like garbage. He's been denied service at restaurants and strangers assume he's some sort of criminal, even though he has no record and first became famous a decade ago for donating an organ to a relative stranger.

"It's nice when people don't think I'm gonna kill 'em," he says of his new lease on life. "I don't feel as ugly and stuff, and it helped my self-confidence a lot. When I'd look at the tattoos in the mirror I'd cry sometimes and think, 'What have I become?' It was really depressing."

Follow Allie Conti on Twitter.

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