Perhaps in celebration of California legalizing recreational pot, one prankster changed the iconic Hollywood sign to read “Hollyweed” in the first hours of 2017. Initially, the internet had some questions about whether it was a hoax, but the pot prank checks out.
A spokesman for the Los Angeles Police Department apparently isn’t allowed to have a sense of humor on the record because he told the New York Times he didn’t find the incident funny. It’s being investigated by the department as trespassing rather than vandalism because the sign was not damaged by the prank. The trespasser hung up tarps with a peace sign and heart to change the O’s into E’s, which some people joked was an improvement.
The Hollywood letters have been altered several times before, but creative troublemakers don’t tweak them quite as much as they used to due to increased security including alarms, a surveillance system, and a fence. It’s actually not even the first time the letters have spelled out “Hollyweed” according to the local CBS station, KCAL.
Back on Jan. 1, 1976, a man named Danny Finegood altered the sign to read “Hollyweed,” the same day a marijuana law took effect, according to published reports. In November , California voters approved Proposition 64, which legalized the recreational use of marijuana.
It was one of several times Finegood altered the sign. In 1979, to mark Easter, he changed it to read “Holywood.” In the 1980s, during the Iran-Contra hearings, he changed it to “Ollywood” to mock Lt. Col. Oliver North.