The iconic Hollywood sign looks a little different in 2017.
Los Angeles residents awoke on New Year’s Day to find the 94-year-old sign on the side of Mount Lee had been altered overnight to read “Hollyweed.”
A lone individual changed the sign overnight, Sgt. Guy Juneau of the Los Angeles Police Department’s Security Services division told the LA Times on Sunday; the incident, which the LAPD called the work of a prankster or a “thrill seeker,” will be investigated as misdemeanor trespassing.
Security footage indicates the sign was changed around midnight on Saturday, but the LAPD has no suspects. It has been changed a number of times over the years in different ways.
This time, the letters in the sign were altered by hanging tarps over the original two O’s ― similar to the way the sign was changed back on Jan. 1, 1976, when a Cal State Northridge student draped curtains over the letters to herald the state’s newly relaxed marijuana laws.
(California voted to legalize recreational marijuana during November’s election. Recreational use is legal now, but portions of the law regarding taxation and licensing aren’t set to go into effect until Jan. 1, 2018.)
Danny Finegood, the art student who altered the sign in ‘76, doctored the sign to make political statements at least three other times before his death in 2007.
According to his obituary in the LA Times, Finegood also changed the sign to read “Holywood” for Easter in 1976; to “Ollywood” in 1987 during the Iran-Contra hearings in protest of then-Marine Lt. Col. Oliver North, who sold arms to Iran; and to “Oil War” in 1990 to protest the Persian Gulf War.
“For a long time, he had this idea that if you just changed the two O’s you could change the whole meaning of the sign,” his wife, Bonnie, said following his death.
Finegood had long objected to characterizing his actions as “vandalism,” arguing that he did not create lasting damage or permanent alterations to the sign, and he relented when a security fence was later installed.