Ceasar Emanuel has been fired from the long-running VH1 reality series Black Ink Crew New York after a graphic video surfaced showing him hitting a dog. The clip from a Ring camera, which we have not published, shows the 43-year-old tattoo shop owner hitting the dog with a folding chair multiple times. He also locks the dog in a cage and pushes it down a hill.
In a statement posted to Facebook on Thursday, VH1 strongly condemned Emanuel's actions and said in no uncertain terms that he was fired from the show, although he will appear on the upcoming season. "We have made the decision to cut ties with Ceasar Emanuel from Black Ink Crew New York," the statement began. "Since next season was close to finishing production, this decision will not impact the upcoming season."
Emanuel's lawyer, Walter Mosley, does not dispute that it was his client in the video but said that the clip is old and that Emanuel was stopping some aggressive dogs from attacking other animals. Calling Emanuel an "avid dog lover," Mosley told PEOPLE that that "this was an unfortunate situation ... where there were a number of other aggressive dogs attacking smaller dogs and probably was a lapse of judgment as to how to appropriately break it up."
He continued, "In some ways, what was not seen in that video, was him protecting the smaller dogs, he just likely didn't do this in the best way, so he's seeking assistance and help to make sure that as a dog owner, he's properly managing it, and understands how to interact in more healthy ways with all types of dogs and all of his dogs, but this is certainly a situation that he had addressed a long time ago. It's unfortunate that a video that's probably almost a year old or older surfaced and created such a disruption. It's something that we've addressed and been addressing for some time."
Emanuel's co-star, Donna Lombardi, called out Emanuel and reposted the video on her Instagram Wednesday. "If you can treat a dog like this, it shows how sick of a person you truly are. I don't even get into the life of this man, but this video made me so upset," she wrote in her post. "Anyone who knows me, knows I LOVE animals. Especially dogs."
Black Ink Crew New York follows the day-to-day drama at a Black-owned and operated tattoo shop in Harlem. It first premiered on VH1 in 2013 and has been on the air for nine seasons.