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West Hollywood sees shame, not fame in Trump star and urges its removal from boulevard

The West Hollywood City Council unanimously approved a resolution Monday seeking to remove President Trump's star from the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

The resolution urges the city of Los Angeles -- where the star is located -- and the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce to remove the marker “due to [Trump’s] disturbing treatment of women and other actions.”

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The vote is largely symbolic. The West Hollywood City Council has no authority over the Walk of Fame, and in the past, the Chamber of Commerce has stood firm against calls for star removal. But West Hollywood Mayor Pro Tem John D'Amico, who put forth the resolution, said he felt a responsibility to speak out against maintaining the monument to fame.

“The message this sends men and women who come to Hollywood to launch careers in the entertainment industry is not a great one,” D’Amico told the Times, “given how Donald Trump behaves.”

A staff report makes several other arguments for removing the star, among them Trump’s treatment of women, the separation of children from their parents at the U.S. border and “denial of findings from the United States intelligence community regarding Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.”

Trump’s star on Hollywood Boulevard near Highland Avenue has become a popular target for vandalism. In October 2016, a man was caught on video attacking the star with a sledgehammer. And in late July, the marker was annihilated by a pickax-wielding Austin Mikel Clay, 24, who promptly turned himself in to police.

D'Amico said that after this most recent incident, he wrote to the city of Los Angeles and the Chamber of Commerce and asked them to not replace the star.

It has since been repaired. D’Amico said he doesn’t support the destruction of public property, but feels that keeping the star reflects poorly on Los Angeles and the entertainment industry.

“I don’t like the idea that something of that significance is telling people that if you behave like our president, you get to have a star on Hollywood Boulevard,” D’Amico said. “Having a star is a privilege.”

Meanwhile, he said, there are women and people of color who have not received the honor because of systemic racism and gender inequity.

Trump received his star in 2007 for his work as producer of the Miss Universe pageant and the TV reality show “The Apprentice.”

Similar calls to remove Trump’s star were made when the president characterized Mexican immigrants as rapists and criminals during his presidential campaign.

When activists called for the removal of Bill Cosby’s star from the Walk of Fame in 2015 amid numerous allegations of sexual assault, the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce refused.

"Once a star has been added to the walk, it is considered a part of the historic fabric of the Hollywood Walk of Fame,” said Leron Gubler, the president and chief executive of the chamber. “Because of this, we have never removed a star from the walk."

D’Amico said that given precedent, he doesn’t expect the resolution to spur immediate action by the city or the Chamber of Commerce. But he hopes it will, at the very least, spark dialogue around who qualifies for the Walk of Fame. He pointed to the national movement to remove Confederate statues, and universities stripping names from buildings originally dedicated to those with sordid pasts.

“I see this as a nudge in the right direction,” D’Amico said.

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Councilwoman Lindsey Horvath noted that the West Hollywood City Council has a long history of passing politically oriented resolutions. West Hollywood was the first city to formally oppose apartheid in South Africa in the 1980s, and has taken positions against traveling to cities and states that enact anti-LGBTQ legislation.

“These issues may be beyond our borders,” Horvath said, “But they are certainly within our values.”

10:35 a.m.: This article was updated throughout with staff reporting.

The article was originally published at 7:40 a.m.

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