‘Hollyweed’ Sign Prankster Arrested by Los Angeles Police

Security cameras recorded the artist changing the sign’s letters on New Year’s Day.

Zachary Cole Fernandez. Photo Instagram @jesushands.
Zachary Cole Fernandez. Photo Instagram @jesushands.

The new year’s favorite—or at least sauciest—prankster, artist and videographer Zachary Cole Fernandez, who is responsible for temporarily transforming the iconic Hollywood sign so that it read “Hollyweed,” was arrested yesterday in Los Angeles, according to the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD).

The 30-year-old turned himself in voluntarily just over a week after pulling the now-infamous stunt, and was booked on suspicion of misdemeanor trespassing.

He had been recorded changing the sign’s letters by nearby security cameras early on New Year’s Day, to ultimately unveil the new sign to much fanfare upon the first sunrise of 2017.

Despite having openly admitted his involvement to a number of news outlets over the past week—including Buzzfeed and VICE—as well as on his own Instagram, the LAPD did not confirm Fernandez’s responsibility until his arrest. He will be released on his own recognizance, and is due to return to court on February 15.

The famous Hollywood sign read "Hollyweed" on January 1, 2017. Courtesy of Gene Blevins/AFP/Getty Images.

The famous Hollywood sign read “Hollyweed” on January 1, 2017. Courtesy of Gene Blevins/AFP/Getty Images.

Fernandez, who was working in cahoots with Sarah Fern, his ex-wife and creative partner, said that the intention was to make people laugh.

“It was something to smile and laugh out loud about,” he told BuzzFeed News. “Just lift their spirits and let them live because 2016 was a crazy year, dude.”

He was inspired by Danny Finegood, who changed the sign in 1976 to read the same words as part of an apparent school art project. According to Fernandez, Finegood received an A for the work. In honor of the original prankster, who died 10 years ago, Fernandez wrote “a tribute to Mr. Finegood” on the bottom left of the “O.”

When asked by VICE if he was concerned about the potential legal fall-out, Fernandez replied, “Sometimes in order to create that conversation, you have to be OK with the consequences. I’m very proactive about marijuana … I’m not about ‘vandalizing’ things.”


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