Prankster alters iconic Hollywood sign to read Hollyweed.

Prankster Alters Iconic Hollywood Sign to Read “Hollyweed”

Prankster Alters Iconic Hollywood Sign to Read “Hollyweed”

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Jan. 1 2017 2:45 PM

Prankster Alters Iconic Hollywood Sign to Read “Hollyweed”

A screenshot shows the defaced Hollywood sign in Los Angeles on Jan. 1.


Los Angeles residents got a little surprise when they woke up on the first day of the year and realized one of the city’s most famous landmarks had been vandalized to read “HOLLYWeeD”—at least for a few hours. Police say the vandal used tarps to change the sign’s O’s into E’s. Security cameras caught the vandal—likely a man—changing the sign between midnight and 2 a.m., but police can’t tell the person’s race or height from the footage, reports KTLA. If caught, the vandal could face a misdemeanor trespassing charge.

Some speculated the prankster was honoring approval of Proposition 64, which legalized recreational use of marijuana. And while many Los Angeles residents and tourists rushed to take photos of the altered sign, the vandalism wasn’t exactly unprecedented. The sign had already been vandalized to read Hollyweed in 1976 by Danny Finegood, an artist who would become known for his numerous alterations of the famous sign.* He later changed it to “Ollywood” in 1987 to protest the positive treatment that Col. Oliver North had received during the Iran-Contra hearings. There are also reports that it had been similarly vandalized in other years.

*Correction, Jan. 3, 2017: This post originally misspelled Danny Finegood’s first name.

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the Today’s Papers column from 2006 to 2009. Follow him on Twitter.