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L.A. artist places Trump's Walk of Fame star behind bars

L.A. artist places Trump's Walk of Fame star behind bars
Passersby in Hollywood look at the prison bars over Donald Trump's star. It's the work of the artist Plastic Jesus, who said he's long been disappointed by the president's direction for the country. (Plastic Jesus)

There are different ways of expressing frustration, be it with stickers, paint or even a sledgehammer. One way or another, President Trump’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame continues to be a battleground for political debate.

On Wednesday morning, an artist who goes by the name Plastic Jesus was the latest to make the Hollywood sidewalk his canvas. At about 11 a.m., the U.K.-born artist aimed to figuratively imprison the president by placing prison bars made of wood over Trump’s star.

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“I feel that Trump should be jailed for his corruption,” he said of the installation.

It’s a less severe approach than others have taken.

In July, a 24-year-old man took a pickax to destroy the star and gave himself up to police. He was booked on suspicion of felony vandalism. In October 2016, during the presidential campaign, another man was charged with felony vandalism after police said he bashed the star with a sledgehammer.

Others have used markers and spray paint to scrawl anti-Trump notes and swastikas on the star.

The Los Angeles Police Department did not get any reports of vandalism this time around, a spokesman said Thursday.

A phone operator for the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, which oversees the Walk of Fame, said the chamber was not giving interviews regarding vandalism on Trump’s star. But in July, the organization said it was disappointed with people destroying Hollywood property to voice their unhappiness with Walk of Fame honorees.

“We would hope that they would project their anger in more positive ways than to vandalize a California State landmark,” the chamber’s president, Leron Gubler, said in a statement. “Our democracy is based on respect for the law. People can make a difference by voting and not destroying public property.”

Plastic Jesus, who said he wishes to remain anonymous because much of his work is done illegally, believes artwork can make a difference, too.

Out of respect for the property, he used industrial grade double-sided tape that made for relatively easy removal. It also made the bars easier to install, which meant less chances of him getting caught in the act, he said.

The artist took photographs and returned to the Walk of Fame a few hours later to find the bars damaged, but intact.

“A lot of the bars had been broken off,” he said. “People clearly tried to rip it off.”

The art installation was gone by Wednesday evening, with no apparent damage to Trump’s star.

This was not the first time the artist has shared his thoughts on Trump. During the 2016 campaign, he surrounded the star with a miniature border wall.

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The artist immigrated to the U.S. in 2007 and is a green card holder who recently applied for citizenship. He said the contrast between then — when Obama was campaigning for a more progressive future — and now has been stark.

“Trump has taken us back to the ’60s and ’70s with his policies and attitudes, and the erosion of human rights and equality,” he said.

In August, days after the latest pickax vandalism incident, another artist turned to art to wage a counter-protest. The Faction, who describes himself as a “Rogue Right Wing” artist, printed stickers of Donald Trump’s star and placed them all over the Walk of Fame.

The artist posted a video on Twitter of a group of men wearing neon vests pasting the stars all over the Walk of Fame near existing celebrities’ stars.

“Keep taking down the @realDonaldTrump star, and we will further spread Trump Derangement Syndrome by installing a never ending stream of stars,” he wrote in the caption.

Los Angeles police said they did not get a report of vandalism that time either.

Gubler said in 2016 that vandalism of Walk of Fame stars is rare. Before Trump’s star began enduring abuse, someone took a sledgehammer to the star of conductor and composer Carmen Dragon, which was installed in the ’80s.

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