Hollywood Sign Changed to Read “HOLLYWeeD” as New Year’s prank
“Say goodbye, say goodbye to Hollywood.”
Published on January 2, 2017

The Hollywood sign, an American cultural icon, was altered over New Year’s Eve to read “HOLLYWeeD.”

The alteration of the sign, located in the Hollywood Hills of the Santa Monica Mountains, began making its way around social media early Sunday morning. Security footage showed a single person climb up Mount Lee, where the sign is located. Built-in ladders and hanging tarpaulins (one emblazoned with the peace sign, and the other with a heart) allowed the 45 foot tall O’s to be changed to e’s, according to Sgt. Guy Juneau of the LAPD’s Security Services division.

“So the sign now reads ‘HOLLYWeeD,’” Juneau confirmed to the LA Times. He called it a New Year’s prank or just the action of  “a thrill seeker.’” There are currently no suspects, but if caught they could face misdemeanor trespassing charges. The sign has long been a target of trespassing and vandalism, and served as the location of Welsh starlet Peg Entwistle’s suicide in 1932, where she jumped from the “H”.

On January1, 1976, an art student from Cal State Northridge hung curtains over the two O’s to celebrate a modification in California’s marijuana policy. However, that and yesterday’s incident are not the only two times the sign, which was originally erected in 1923 as an advertisement for a real estate development, has been altered from its official version.

In fact, the sign originally read ‘HOLLYWOODLAND’, and had been altered several times in the past to celebrate the marijuana plant, as recounted by social media. 



California legalized recreational marijuana through Prop 64 on November 8 of last year, and medical marijuana has been legal in the state since 1996.

Los Angeles is now in a unique position to become home to a booming cannabis industry, and many of the city’s Hollywood celebrities have entered the cannabis space, publicly celebrating the change of regime.

In November, the Los Angeles City Council voted to draft a ballot measure for public consideration in March of 2017. If passed, it could represent a sweeping change to Los Angeles cannabis regulations. Introduced by City Council President Herb Wesson, the new initiative would repeal an earlier ballot measure passed in 2013, Proposition D, which banned medical marijuana business in Los Angeles but also offered “limited immunity” to 135 shops from prosecution. Los Angeles refused to license MMJ businesses due to the federal prohibition on cannabis.

Prop D, alongside implementing comprehensive rules, taxes and penalties, could lift that number, allowing new businesses to apply for legal recognition.

One “lone individual,” who so happened to climb one very well-known Los Angeles hill this New Year’s, might just approve.

Justin O'Connell
Justin is a California-based writer who covers music, cannabis, craft beer, Baja California, science and technology. His writing has appeared in VICE and the San Diego Reader.
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