President Trump’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame was vandalized once again Sunday as an estimated 50,000 people protesting police brutality and the killing of George Floyd filled the streets of Los Angeles’s entertainment mecca.
The oft-targeted symbol of the Trump presidency was entirely blanketed by black spray paint, surrounded by Black Lives Matter messages — and for emphasis, topped with a small green plastic bag that apparently contained dog excrement.
The spray-painting of Trump’s star, which was awarded to the businessman/reality TV star turned politician in 2007 to honor his role as host of The Apprentice, was captured in several posts on social media Sunday.
I was among the 20,000 people marching through Hollywood today calling for an end to police brutality. It was inspiring to see a diverse crowd gather to remember our black brothers & sisters who have been killed at the hands of police officers. #BlackLivesMatter pic.twitter.com/LkNWHRbKye
— Adriana Chavira (@adrianachavira) June 8, 2020
The tagging came as Black Lives Matter protests and marches increased in size and scope in major cities across America over the weekend, and as the president’s handling of the civil unrest has been widely criticized.
Peaceful protesters were forcibly removed from an area adjacent to the White House on June 1, with U.S. Park Police and National Guard troops using tear gas, to make way for a photo op the president’s team staged at St. John’s Church. That same day, Trump told governors across the United States on a conference call that “you have to dominate” protesters. And on Friday, Trump bizarrely claimed it was “a great day” for the deceased Floyd while touting an unexpected growth in jobs.
Trump’s star has been regularly targeted by vandals and activists in the years since he launched his political career.
In July 2016, street artist Plastic Jesus constructed a miniature wall around the star in response to the presidential candidate’s pledge to erect a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border. Trump’s name was crossed out and replaced by graffiti three months later.
In perhaps the most infamous incident, a man took a sledgehammer to the star after the release of behind-the-scenes audio from Access Hollywood in which Trump is heard boasting to then-host Billy Bush about grabbing women “by the p***y.” That man, James Otis, was arrested and sentenced to three years’ probation. He agreed to pay $4,400 for the damage.
The nameplate was covered in protest stickers in January 2017, shortly before Trump’s inauguration. In May 2017, a golden toilet with the words “Take a Trump” etched on it was positioned next to the star, referencing a miscaptioned meme that the president had such a luxury in his Fifth Avenue penthouse.
The star was completely demolished again in 2018 by a man using a pickax. Austin Mikel Clay was sentenced to one day in county jail, 20 hours of community service and three years of formal probation. He was also ordered to pay $9,400 in restitution to the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce for the damage and attend psychological counseling.
The terrazzo-and-brass stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame are constructed for a fee of $50,000, typically paid for by a nominating committee such as a movie studio, record label or television network.
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