A man has been arrested after turning himself in on Monday for altering the famous Hollywood sign so it read ‘Hollyweed’ during the early hours of New Year’s Day. The prank was said to be a nod to California’s Nov. 8 vote to legalize recreational marijuana.
Local artist Zachary Cole Fernandez, 30, was booked on suspicion of misdemeanor trespassing, The Guardian reports. Police had not previously confirmed his involvement. He will be released on his own recognizance and must return to court Feb. 15, a police spokesperson told AFP.
Surveillance footage showed a man using tarpaulin to alter the 45-ft. letters between midnight and 2 a.m. City officials increased security measures around the landmark following the incident.
Fernandez had claimed credit for the stunt in an interview with Vice before his arrest. “It was… a lot of work,” he told the online publication. “It took me two hours. It’s exhausting! Your adrenaline is pumping and then you just crash so hard when it bottoms out. We collaborated before, packed everything, trying to keep it simple and easy.”
The sign was defaced in the exact same way on Jan. 1, 1976, when a California law relaxing penalties for marijuana use took effect. It has been the victim of other word play games over the years, from “Ollywood,” to protest Marine Lt. Col. Oliver North during the Iran-Contra hearings, and “Oil War” during the Persian Gulf War, the L.A. Times reports.
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