By Cady Lang
August 7, 2019

A bright pink house emblazoned with emoji symbols is stirring up dissent in Manhattan Beach in Southern California and the only thing wilder than its flamboyant appearance is the juicy saga leading up to it.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the house’s owner, Kathryn Kidd, was reported by a neighbor, Susan Wieland, for using her house for short-term rentals like Airbnb, which is illegal in the area. Kidd was fined $4000 for violating the city’s rental laws. Less than a month later, Kidd decided to paint her house a striking fuchsia and added two large emoji designs to the front of it — one that sticks its tongue out as the other has its mouth zipped.

Wieland believes that the house painting is a retaliation for her reporting Kidd’s illegal short-term rentals. In an interview with Easy Reader News, she shared that she had gotten eyelash extensions ahead of the house being painted and that the eyelash detailing on the emojis suggested that the paint job was a message directed to her.

“It’s definitely directed at me,” Wieland said, noting that she has kept the shades in her house closed since the house was painted over two months ago. “Every day I get up, I’m so depressed. I can’t look outside. I feel like I’m being bullied, frankly, by her. That word keeps coming up to me: she’s a bully, and she feels she is entitled. She just wants to make things uncomfortable for us.”

Kidd told Easy Reader News that it was a “time for the emoji” and that she wasn’t trying to offend anyone.

“I did it for the purpose of being happy, being positive, and I think it’s cute and quirky and kind of funny,” she said.

The artist that Kidd hired to draw the emojis has implied otherwise. Although the caption has been since edited, Easy Reader News reported that he wrote a caption on Instagram along with a picture of the house that referenced the bad blood between the neighbors: “Are your neighbors constantly ratting you out? Have they cost you thousands in fines? Have you wanted to tell them off lately? Why risk a case, when you can hire me to paint them a pretty message? No verbal confrontations, speedy turnaround, open to photorealism and custom emojis. Hit the dm for a free quote today.”

Wieland and other neighbors brought the issue up at a city council meeting on Tuesday; according to ABC 7 News, the city planning commission will examine at the emoji art under residential mural ordinance later this month.

Write to Cady Lang at cady.lang@timemagazine.com.

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