Vandals struck the famed Hollywood sign over the New Year and changed it to “Hollyweed.”
Many people have snapped photos of the vandalism, posting them on Twitter. The photos are real.
ABC7 reported that the Los Angeles Police Department’s Hollywood Division “said the agency was aware of the vandalism and a unit was dispatched to Mount Lee to investigate.” The television station said the change was a New Year’s Eve prank by people who are not yet identified.
A group of hikers was among those who posed with the altered sign.
Although it’s unclear who changed the sign, the switch to “Hollyweed” is a play on history. According to Time Magazine, “Prankster Danny Finegood famously altered the sign with curtains to read ‘Hollyweed’ in 1976, among other word games over the years, such as ‘Ollywood’ to protest Marine Lt. Col. Oliver North during the Iran-Contra hearings and ‘Oil War’ during the Persian Gulf War.”
It wasn’t Finegood this time, though, because that prankster died in 1987.
Daily Variety reported that Finegood changed the sign on the 1976 day that marijuana “was decriminalized” in California. The entertainment magazine pointed out that voters just legalized pot in California on the November ballot, which could have been the inspiration for this alteration.
According to Daily Variety, there is security video of the caper, and it’s being investigated as a crime – misdemeanor trespassing.
Daily Variety reported that others have also vandalized the sign over the years, changing it to “Save the Peak” and “Go UCLA.”
The famous sign first went up in 1923, although it initially read “Hollywoodland.” Hollywoodsign.org says it was “built by Los Angeles Times publisher Harry Chandler as an epic $21,000 billboard for his upscale Hollywoodland real estate development.”
Its font has been described as “sort of blocky sans serif.”