According to Sgt. Guy Juneau of the Los Angeles Police Department’s Security Services Division, security cameras captured the prankster, a lone man, climbing the fence that guards the sign at around midnight. By placing two tarps over the “O’s” in Hollywood, he transformed the sign to read “Hollyweed.” The tarps were taken down Sunday morning, and the sign read Hollywood once again around 11 a.m. This isn’t the first time the sign has been meddled with. It was first altered to “Hollyweed” back in 1976.
The man behind it
It happened in the 1970s and it just happened again. One man and his former wife transformed the world-recognizable Hollywood sign into much-preferred “Hollyweed”. Why? Because it’s funny and awesome. As BuzzFeed News reports, artist and videographer Zach Fernandez of Pomona, California has fessed up about why he changed the sign.
For Fernandez, the Hollyweed swap was an effort to share laughter and happiness. He tells BuzzFeed News,
It was something to smile and laugh out loud about. Just lift their spirits and let them live because 2016 was a crazy year, dude.
Yet, even in the darkest of times, there are reasons to celebrate. Fernadez’s stunt, while awesome, wasn’t original.
What the original sign prankster had to say
The first “Hollyweed” made an appearance back in 1976. It was activist Danny Finegood and some friends who were responsible.
The Moscone Act of 1976 had recently passed, which dropped charges of cannabis possession from a felony to a misdemeanor, decriminalizing cannabis in California. Finegood’s wife, Bonnie, told reporters at the time:
It wasn’t a prank, it was a message.
Finegood repeated the sign swap stunt again in 1987. He wrote “ollywood” to make fun of the public obsession with Oliver North, who diverted funds from weapons sales to anti-revolutionary troops in Nicaragua during the Iran-contra scandal.
So, almost a decade after Finegood’s death, Fernandez decided to pay tribute to the legend and re-create Hollyweed. He even included a note that said “A tribute to Mr. Finegood” on one of the “O”s. After all, California has finally passed a cannabis legalization bill, giving all adults access to the recreational weed.
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