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A UKIP candidate who posed naked for an art book has responded to questions about tattoos appearing to contain Nazi symbolism to say he does not hold Nazi views, and that they merely “tell a story”.

Kevin O’Doherty, a UKIP candidate for Hastings, where the party already has one councillor, appears nude in the Dualism Volume 2 art book (NSFW) in an image where another man snorts a white powder off the naked body of a woman.

His tattoos include a yellow Star of David, a Stuka bomber, as used by the Germans in World War Two, as well as what he says are British planes protecting the star.

The story was originally reported in Political Scrapbook, and was later picked up by newspapers such as the Daily Mail.

Now responding, Mr O’Doherty denies that he has Nazi leanings, and claims his tattoos simply “tell a story.”

In an email sent to PinkNews, he explained in detail all tattoos on both of his arms. He said: “The right arm contains images which are centred around the idea of ‘goodness’: there are pictures of the Norse God Thor in his chariot (a symbol of the sun and male fecundity), there is a dove of peace, the word ‘Gentleman’, oak leaves and an English country cottage. There is also a rough representation of Michaelangelo’s Creation of Adam above the word Heaven Sent, with white doves flying between.”

NB. Thor, and Thor’s hammer (Mjölnir), are known to have been used by Nazis in Germany, and since by neo-Nazis. They are also used by modern Pagans.

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“On my left (sinister) arm there are references to ‘evil’. These are the Stuka, an Eagle which is similar but not identical to a Reichsadler, British planes (not German) surrounding in defence of the Star of David, a foxes head with the words ‘Use Cunning’ and the depiction of a devil type character with a cigar, bottle and a whip, connected to the words ‘Hell Bent’. There is a spider’s web too. The left arm is traditionally the arm of the devil, so all of this is related to symbolism.”

He continued: “Quite how this manages to be turned into a Nazi outrage is something of a mystery to me. I have walked around for 9 years with these tattoos and never received one word of censure. This despite having many Jewish friends and acquaintances who see nothing untoward in this and who don’t regard me as a covert Nazi. Stukas were a death machine and indeed that is why they are at the top of the evil list – as a child they used to terrify me when I was made to watch something to do with the War.

“Also when I was a child, Airfix used to make a kit of a Stuka and I believe that it is still possible to buy such things from a model shop.”

In a later email Mr O’Doherty wrote: “I have never received any complaint about them at all; more people have said that they are unusual and are interested in the narrative of them. I don’t really see anything wrong with having a tattoo of a Stuka; it is an instrument of terror, but does that mean it should never be seen?

“To my thinking, it should always be seen, lest we forget. Similarly, with regard to the Star of David: this has long been associated with having an element of protest. It was Peter Tatchell among many others who sported pink triangle badges in the 80s and beyond in an ‘I am Spartacus’ rejection of all things fascist… I am always very suspicious of the word ‘offended’ being used by someone, as it typically means that they do not have the inclination or the capacity to reason about what confronts them.”

He suggested that the PinkNews article questioned why “a 54 year old out-of-shape man would pose naked and show off his tattoos,” saying the report was “judgemental” and “narrow minded”.

Continuing, Mr O’Doherty questioned whether PinkNews journalists were “no different to the people who criticised Conchita Wurst”, Eurovision Song Contest winner.

He asks: “Should I keep a suit on at all times and speak in sentences that don’t mean anything at all?”

Claiming that in St Leonards, Hastings, “people of all ages, classes, colours and creeds [live] together quite happily. The thing that binds us all together is the happy absence of any political correctness or Socialist didacticism, and that is the way we would like to keep it.”

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He said it was “an ironic disappointment” that the media had sought to “put him in a box so narrow and constricted” through “stereotyping” how a politician should act.

In a Facebook post in which he accused PinkNews of “narrow-minded bigotry” he writes: “No gay man ever actually takes drugs, do they? Especially not in London or Manchester ….”

Another user responded to say: “Sturmbannfuhrer O’Docherty has a certain ring to it, wunderbar!”, a Sturmbannfuher was a Nazi Party paramilitary rank equivalent to major.

Aisha Mohammed Salem, who is on the Communication team of the Dualism Art Project, also contacted PinkNews in defence of Mr O’Doherty.

She wrote: “Kevin is an out and proud gay man in a civil partnership, how can he be accused to be a nazi?  when people start to know that, the press will look very bad at the end! [sic].”

On the photoshoot, she said: “The shoot which Kevin modelled for is a meeting between the classic movie Scarface (Al-Pachino and Michelle Pfieffer) and snow white and the 7 dwarfs, and alice in wonderland. (we used sugar icing not real drugs).

“Kevin has been a follower for the Dualism for a very long time. and when we were casting models he showed an interest to take part.

“He is a very humble classy cultured educated actor/model, and very easy to work with.

“All our models are from all ages, body types, ethnic origins, cultures and sexualities so that everyone can relate to the art work.”

When asked whether he supported UKIP’s stance against same-sex marriage on the grounds that it claims religious institutions will be forced to perform marriages through court European Court of Human Rights challenges, Mr O’Doherty said he did not.

“As a gay man in a civil partnership, I of course absolutely support equal marriage. My husband is Belgian (and a Liberal at that), so no-one can reasonably contend that I am xenophobic, a little Englander, or even a hypocrite. I believe in equal rights for all people and a proportion of the UKIP objection contends that straight people should be allowed civil partnership (in other words, full equality).

“I acknowledge that for some people equal marriage presents a problem, most typically because of their faith.”

UKIP did not respond to calls from PinkNews for comment.