someone holding orange card that reads "Job Offer"
Leah Berenson
Leah Berenson
April 26, 2024 ·  6 min read

Unemployed Dad With Face Tattoos Rejects 45 Job Offers After Desperate Work Plea Goes Viral

There are times in which available work ebbs and flows. Some examples of times when many were unemployed include the 2008 recession and the COVID pandemic. On the other hand, some people struggle to find a job, like this father from New Zealand. Apparently, for reasons completely unrelated to the current economic status, but because of personal decisions made in life. Moreover, it seems this isn’t the only thing for which he’s “famous” or infamous.

In 2017, a teen father from New Zealand named Mark Cropp went viral after being turned down from numerous jobs due to a face tattoo. Devast8, is plastered across the lower part of his face, covering his jawline, chin, and cheeks.

An Unemployed Father Asks for Help

The unemployed father turned to Facebook to plead with his community. He was looking for a job after being turned away by multiple potential employers. Cropp explained that he’d just gotten out of prison after two years, during which time he served alongside his brother—then disclosed that his brother had been the one to give him the tattoo. Therefore, it had a special meaning, and getting rid of it would be a difficult decision, if not emotional. He also noted that it would be physically “hurt” as well. 

Man with Tattooed Face
Photo Credit: NZ Herald

Opting to Stay Unemployed

Hearing his desperate attempt to provide for his family, numerous job offers flooded in. It seems that he was offered more than 45 job opportunities, losing track after that. However, he turned them all down, opting to remain unemployed and “wait for the right one to come about.” He explained that many offers required him to have his own transportation, which had already ruled out several possibilities.

Offers and Support Flood In

While people offered him jobs, others wanted to support him in other ways. Some offered him makeup tips to cover the tattoo. Some suggested he grow a beard. While others unsurprisingly condemned him for his decision to get a tattoo on his face in the first place. Incredibly, some people even offered him free tattoo removal. Regardless of the mixed responses he got, he certainly had the support of several people in his own community but still remained unemployed. 

Man with money
Photo Credit: NZ Herald

Hopefully Making a Positive Change

Ultimately, the unemployed father and former convict, concluded that providing for his family was more important than the tattoo and opted to have it removed. 

It’s been a few years since his pleas to the community went viral. Many are curious about where he is now. Sadly, he hasn’t made much progress regarding no longer being unemployed. Furthermore, despite having one tattoo removal session, he didn’t follow up afterward and has even dabbled more with a life of crime.

Tattoo Removal
Photo Credit: NZ Herald

In November of 2022, he was sentenced again to time in prison. This time for possession as well as for resisting arrest and disorderly conduct. Reportedly, he also gave false information after being involved in a car crash. Unfortunately, the father, who was seemingly desperate to be no longer unemployed and provide for his family, has gone in another direction. 

Criminal Acts

His recent conviction, which didn’t come until almost a year after his arrest, is only the end of a list of crimes that date back to 2015, when he was first arrested for armed robbery, pulling out a knife on a tourist.

Two years after his release date, he found himself in trouble again. This time, for drug possession and assault on a pregnant woman. Still unemployed, Cropp reportedly “sobbed” to the judge, explaining that he wanted to turn things around for the sake of his family. Amazingly, the judge showed him some grace, and he was sentenced to a short term of only ten months.

His Unemployed Status may be his Least Pressing Worry

Although some people offered their support, including free tattoo removal, Cropp and his lawyer claimed to the court that the media coverage following his case had a negative impact on his life.

Cropp himself explained, “After I appeared in the Herald [in 2017] my story went viral, and I got emails from all over the world with people wanting to interview me.” He went on to explain, how he was frequently, “subject to death threats and abuse from strangers”. “The landlords knew all about my previous convictions from the media and this made it hard to get a place to rent,” explained Cropp. He attributed his status as unemployed and other troubles to the result of the news coverage.

Despite his initial pleas to the public for help ending his unemployment and his second pleas to the courts regarding his “safety”, Cropp’s criminal activities were far from over.

More than One Second Chance

Apparently, he was able to stay out of trouble for a few years, in 2022, he found himself once again facing criminal charges. On November 4th, Cropp was pulled over while driving. Upon his interaction with the police, he refused to give his information and eventually assaulted a cop, resisting arrest. Nearly a year later, in September of 2023, he was sentenced for his crimes. These also included more drug possession charges and “breaching the Medicines Act”, as well as falsifying information after being involved in 2 car accidents.

Unemployed Man Looking into the Distance, Tree in Background
Photo Credit: NZ Herald

Again, his pleas have granted him some leniency. “You are young, so I hope you can figure out how to avoid coming back here and do stuff that you really enjoy that does not involve you getting in trouble,” explained Judge Quentin Hix, who wanted to “tidy up everything” for the young father who’s now battling far more than just being unemployed. “I hope you can find some help along that line if you can. I am trying to give you a clean slate start today. – please treat it in the way it has been given to you.” Concluded the judge.

Although it’s unclear whether or not Cropp will do what is necessary to change his status from unemployed and clean up his act, one thing is clear. New Zealand has since made great strides to do more for prisoners who will likely be unemployed upon their release. Cropp’s pleas for a second chance was likely a contributing factor in the prison system’s newest decision—the decision to grant $100,000 for prisoners wanting to have their tattoos removed. 

Government Steps in

In 2019, it was decided that “charitable” technicians would be allowed to provide “heavily discounted services” for inmates looking to have a tattoo removed. However, earlier that year, Corrections had already set aside a “funding pool” of $25,000 in the hopes of decreasing the number of unemployed individuals who’ve been released after their sentence.

Unfortunately, it was just before the pandemic that this was issued and came to an end during quarantine. In contrast, the Government has now set aside another $100,000 for the project.

Keep Reading: Should dads take their daughters into the women’s bathroom?


  1. Devast8 back in Christchurch court: Face-tattooed offender assaulted cop, caught with meth.NZ Herald. Anna Leask. November 27, 2023.
  2. A TEEN dad with “DEVAST8” tattooed across half his face has turned down 45 job offers as he iswaiting for the right one to come along” – after his desperate work plea went viral.The Sun. Jon Lockett. July 17, 2017.
  3. Corrections budgets $100k for prisoner tattoo removal.NZ Herald. Jeremy Wilkinson. September 23, 2023.