The beginning of a new year has some planning to give themselves a new look. A prankster gave an iconic Los Angeles landmark a new look for 2017.
Early on the new year, someone had managed to get past the security gates near the Hollywood sign and made changes that had the sign, reading “Hollyweed” instead. Through the use of carefully placed tarps, the suspect managed to change the Os into Es.
According to Los Angeles Police Officer Christopher Garcia, authorities believe the suspect is a man who was seen on security footage between midnight and two o’clock in the morning. Due to the time of day plus rainy weather conditions, the authorities are unable to determine the suspect’s height or race.
The Hollywood sign changed back to normal within hours of the alterations’ discovery.
The prank has prompted the Hollywood Sign Trust to increase security by the landmark.
“We will be deploying additional technology to tighten up surveillance and thus deter unwanted visitors in the future,” said chairman Chris Baumgart in a statement. “This is more than preventing pranks or trespassing at the sign. Our concern is the safety of the neighborhood and the trespassers that put themselves at risk because it is extremely unsafe to be on the sign, let alone traversing the treacherous hillside that is home to those 9 famous letters.”
This isn’t the first time the sign has been altered for political messages, however. In 1976, Daniel N. Finegood had made the same alterations to the sign to celebrate the decriminalization of marijuana in the state of California.
“He was adamant that it really wasn’t a prank,” said Matthew Finegood, son of the ‘Hollyweed’ originator. “He was doing something that didn’t harm the sign. He felt it was art and he was trying to tell the world something he believed in and that people were supportive of.”
The latest approved alterations to promote a political message was in 2010, when the sign was altered to say “Save the Peak” to raise awareness about development.
There is some speculation that the sign’s alteration is meant to celebrate the legalization of marijuana that California voted for in the past election. However, Californians will still have to wait until January 2018 before they can legally buy marijuana from stores without the need of a medical card.