2016 was the “Burnt it! Burn it with fire!” year, and what a better way to set things ablaze than with a huge 2017 statement. The infamous New Year’s Eve prank changing the iconic Hollywood sign to read ‘Hollyweed’ was definitely a way to light up our entrance into 2017. Why was this done? Well, because, “It was something to smile and laugh out loud about. Just lift their spirits and let them live because 2016 was a crazy year, dude,” according to the prankster himself. Obviously.
Meet artist and videographer known as “JesusHands”, Zach Fernandez of Pomona, California. He’s claimed to be the man behind the stunt, along with his ex-wife and mother to his children, Sarah Fern.
How long did it take to pull something this momentous off? As it turns out, it was the planning and nerves that took the most time. After nearly 2 months of scheming, the whole prank to alter the internationally recognized sign took a grand total of about $35 and roughly three hours. Not too shabby.
Outside of pulling this stunt just for the LULZ, Fernandez admitted that the project also served as a tribute to Daniel Finegood, a student at CSU, Northridge who changed the sign in 1976 for an art project (he got an “A” btw). After learning that Finegood had passed three days before NYE in 2007, Fernandez allegedly wrote, “A tribute to Mr. Finegood,” on one of the sheets he used to cover one of the sign’s “O’s”.
But this tribute may have some consequences. The agency entrusted with maintaining the historic sign, the Hollywood Sign Trust, contacted LAPD to investigate the vandalism.
Despite the call-in and the alteration to the sign, police said they are no longer investigating vandalism charges in the case. “The sign was not vandalized in any way,” Officer Liliana Preciado told BuzzFeed News. “It was a plastic cover that was put on.”
A trespassing investigation, however, is still ongoing.
While Fernandez does understand that he could face jail-time consequences for the act, he says hopes it doesn’t come to that.
“If I could just do art and barter, I’ll be happy as fuck,” he said.