Matt Ronan, the father of Unexpected mom Jenna Ronan, is no stranger to TLC censorship. During his first season on the show, producers blurred out a 3 Percenters tattoo that Matt had on his left forearm. Matt later defended the tattoo, but ultimately decided to obfuscate it prior to the current season.
As a result of the alteration, producers are not blurring out Matt’s left forearm. However, this season they are blurring out Matt’s right forearm! What tattoo are they blurring out this time? Is it something new? And what is potentially offensive about it?
Matt Ronan’s censored tattoo
The tattoo in question is in the middle of Matt’s right forearm, on the outside but towards his body. Matt has the word “MARINES” spelled out in all caps all the way down his forearm, and the tattoo in question is beside that. You can see the location and the blurring in the screen caps at the top of this post.
I spent some time going through Matt’s various social media accounts and I was able to get a pretty decent image of the tattoo in question:
The design features a Maltese cross behind a circle with skulls and what appears to be crossed swords. Any mention of a Maltese cross is sure to bring up thoughts of Nazi symbolism, but it’s important to note that it is a very common symbol used in various military organizations of many countries.
Given Matt’s time in the Marines, and the numerous Marine tattoos he has, my guess was that the tattoo had something to do with his time in the Corps.
I did some searches attempting to identify this particular design, but I had absolutely no luck. I decided to see if reddit could help out and shared the photo on the TLC Unexpected subreddit. After a lot of speculation, some of which was less than flattering towards Jenna’s dad, Matt himself posted with the actual answer.
“It’s supposed to resemble the Marine Corps Sharpshooter rifle badge,” Matt explained in a comment. (Here’s what that badge looks like.) “There were a few of us that got the same tattoo. We altered it a little adding 5 skulls, 1 set of brass knuckles, crossed swords, crossed pistols and crossed rifles. It looks so crappy because a friend of ours did it when we were in the Barracks while I was in the Marine Corps.”
Matt apologized for the boring explanation, but added that he had no problem with the tattoo looking “crappy” because of how meaningful it is to him. Oh, and we shouldn’t expect to see the tattoo altered to keep producers happy.
“Unless you’ve spent the kind of time I have with friends in the Marine Corps and been through the things we had been through together, you may not totally understand,” Matt wrote. “It doesn’t matter if it’s a great tat or not, I’d never change it unless we all changed it. And sadly one has passed, so that day will never happen.”
Matt’s explanation still leaves one burning question: Why in the world is TLC blurring out the tattoo?! I suppose they could be worried that someone might misinterpret it as something offensive, but that kind of thinking would result in A LOT of blurred out reality star tattoos! Speaking of editing out offensive things, it’s too bad producers can’t blur out everything that comes out of Jason Korpi’s mouth.
To catch a glimpse of Matt’s blurred forearm, and keep up with all the teen mama drama, be sure to keep tuning in for new episodes of Unexpected airing Sunday nights at 10/9c on TLC!.