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Man arrested over ‘Hollyweed’ sign prank

Zachary Fernandez turned himself in on suspicion of misdemeanour trespassing for the pro-cannabis prank

The man who changed the ‘Hollywood’ sign to ‘Hollyweed’ has been arrested, according to reports.

Zachary Cole Fernandez used white sheets to change the letters on the sign above the Los Angeles neighbourhood on January 1. He was caught by surveillance footage carrying out the prank. The LAPD said he turned himself in, with his lawyer present, charged with suspicion of misdemeanour trespassing.

The authorities added he will be released on bail, but will return for trial February 15.

David Ryu, who’s the councillor for the area around the Hollywood sign, described how acts like these “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... while the Hollywood sign is an internationally recognised icon, it is located in a large urban wilderness park next to thousands of residential homes.”

Fernandez, an artist who uses the name ‘Jesus Hands’, said he and his partner wanted to promote dialogue about the move in California to legalise recreational marijuana use. Fernandez said he conducted research on how to climb the sign before the excursion. He was originally inspired by a similar act by Daniel Finegood in 1976 who doctored the sign when rules surrounding weed were relaxed. Finegood also changed it to ‘Ollywood’ in 1987 during the Iran-Contra scandal, and then to ‘Oil War’ in 1990 to protest the first Gulf war.