The Hollywood sign is one of America’s most recognizable landmarks. It’s appeared in innumerable movies and is about as familiar to us as the Statue of Liberty. It was built in 1923 and got a pretty dramatic facelift recently, when some mysterious person or group of people defaced it so that it read “HOLLYWeeD.”
At two in the morning on New Year’s Day, a man wearing all black was captured on security cam climbing the fence that surrounds the sign. He proceeded to change the O’s to e’s. He didn’t use paint, thankfully, but merely wrapped cloth around the letters.
The sign continued to read HOLLYWeeD until around 11 a.m. that day, when curmudgeonly authorities stripped the cloth down and destroyed a timeless message of peace, love and harmony.
The prank was probably a reaction to the fact that marijuana was legalized in California in November. Recreational use of the drug is now legal, as long as you’re at least twenty-one years old. Maybe the prankster just wanted to make sure all of the electorate was kept abreast of current events.
The guy is being called “a vandal” in the media. If he’s caught, he will probably face at least a misdemeanor trespassing charge. But to many, he is a faceless hero. The hero LA deserves, though they do not need him.
People are speculating about who did it. One prominent theory posits that it was actually Steve-O, the famous stuntman from the Jackass television show and movies. Steve-O posted a photo of the HOLLYWeeD sign to his Facebook page, along with the caption “I don’t know who did this to the Hollywood Sign, but I’m quite impressed they got away with it.”
Some of his fans immediately latched onto the theory that it was Steve-O himself who did it. If he did, it actually seems like a pretty out-of-character move for him. It doesn’t involve any dangerous animals, human waste, or extreme bodily harm. Just some tarps, a black mask and a dream.
Believe it or not, (we believe it), this isn’t the first time the Hollywood sign has been defaced in exactly this way. On January 1, 1976, a student named Danny Finegood from Cal State Northridge used some curtains to create the same effect. Similarly, it was in response to weed legislation. California had, that day, passed a more tolerant marijuana policy into law.
Was it Steve-O? Only time will tell. And Steve-O. Steve-O will also tell.