The 'Hollyweed' Prankster Artists Could Face Harsh Consequences

Copycats be warned.

In Los Angeles, California, 2017 came in with a bang, and an homage to marijuana via the iconic Hollywood sign. On Jan. 1, it read "Hollyweed"––the result of a well-executed prank that came in the form of an installation art piece.  

Zack Fernandez and partner Sarah Fern (via)

Pomona artist Zack Fernandez, and his creative partner/ex-wife claimed responsibility for the act, which required the use of 20-ft-tall ladders, telling VICE, "Sometimes in order to create that conversation, you have to be OK with the consequences," Fernandez told VICE. "I'm very proactive about marijuana."

Fernandez, who creates work under the moniker "Jesus Hands," updated the 420-friendly L.A. landmark, which was a nod to an artist who previously lit up the sign in the 1970s. The 'Hollyweed' prank spread around the Internet in the days following Fernandez and Ferns' remake and now they are faced with the legal aftermath. But the consequences might be more severe than the "slap on the wrist," the two artists initially anticipated. 

According to the Los Angeles Times:

"LAPD Officer Liliana Preciado said Wednesday that investigators were 'talking to a person' in connection with the trespassing case, but declined to name the person. Preciado said detectives would not arrest the prankster on suspicion of trespassing, but would instead present their findings to the district attorney’s office. Prosecutors will then decide whether or not to file charges, she said." 

A YouTube-star climbed the sign in 2015, got caught, and after pleading guilty, was reportedly charged with the maximum penalties, which included one year of probation and thousands of dollars in restitution fees. Fernandez and Fern could see even harsher consequences, pending the district attorney's office decision to file charges. 

Copycats be warned, Hollywood (the sign, at least) is not down with weed.