Article by Chris Moore, Merry Jane
On New Years Day 2017, Los Angeles residents awoke to find that the iconic Hollywood sign had been altered to read “HOLLYWeeD.” The sign was not damaged in the prank, as the two 45-foot tall O’s were changed to e’s by hanging tarps. The prank is a recreation of a 1976 one, when California student Danny Finegood changed the sign to “HOLLYWeeD” on New Years’ Day using a pair of curtains.
Security camera footage revealed that this year’s prank was perpetrated by a lone individual during the early morning of January 1st. 30-year-old Zachary Cole Fernandez, who has taken credit for the prank on social media, turned himself in to the LAPD on Monday. Police arrested Fernandez on a misdemeanor charge of trespassing. Fernandez was then released on $1,000 bail, and is scheduled to make his first court appearance in court on Feb. 15th.
Although the sign was not harmed in the prank, Los Angeles Councilman David Ryu urged the City Attorney and LAPD to prosecute Fernandez. “The Hollywood Sign has seen many alteration attempts over the years from people seeking notoriety or commercial gain,” Ryu explained. “Pranks of this nature deplete the resources of our valuable public safety personnel, in both responding to the prank and in responding to the increased crowds and copycat attempts that these incidents generate.”