Hollyweed: Iconic Hollywood Sign Altered In New Year’s Eve Prank

People were once allowed to hike up to the Hollywood sign, but in 1978 security was tightened, partly in response to the 1976 “Hollyweed” incident. On the sign’s official website, details are given about the security measures in place and why they exist.

“Over the years, the Sign nearly disappeared forever due to the combined efforts of vandals, pranksters, and neglect,” the site says. “Footpaths up the slope became jagged, unsightly erosion sites that ate away at the side of Mt. Lee. Nearby residents in the Hollywoodland community had to deal with unwanted foot traffic through their properties, sometimes by dangerously intoxicated groups of people. Joke additions to the Sign or changes to the letters, which might seem harmless enough, created hazardous work for city workers who had to restore the Sign back to normal.”

The site also lists some of the specific security measures in place around the sign and on the hill where it sits.

  • A tall perimeter fence with razor wire
  • 24-hour electronic surveillance by City of Los Angeles authorities
  • Infrared lights and cameras that can see equally as well in the day and on a moonless night
  • Monitoring microphones and bullhorns
  • Web cameras
  • Motion sensors
  • Regular patrol visits by city police and park ranger helicopters

Despite all of those measures, the prankster still managed to reach the Hollywood sign and change it to “Hollyweed.” According to Variety, officials confirmed security footage of the sign being changed to “Hollyweed” does exist but have not stated whether they will be releasing it to the public.

According to SF Weekly, Proposition 64 was voted into law on November 8. 2016, giving Californians the right to possess and consume up to one ounce of cannabis in “Hollyweed” and elsewhere around the state. The law, however, does not allow for pro-cannabis vandalism of important landmarks, so the prankster who pulled this stunt could be in a bit of trouble if they are identified.

Of course, given the number of famous celebrities who proudly and openly use cannabis, such as Natalie Portman, Bill Maher, Kirsten Dunst, Woody Harrelson, and Matthew McConaughey, there may be a decent argument for keeping the Hollywood sign as “Hollyweed,” at least for a little while.

Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey are two of the many stars who proudly use cannabis. [Image by Kevin Winter/Getty Images]

[Featured Image by Victoria Callow/Twitter]