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George Floyd mural vandalized outside Laugh Factory in Hollywood

A woman with three dogs on leashes looks at a sign smeared with paint.
Dog walker Samantha Ahrem walks past a mural at the Laugh Factory that was recently defaced.
(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

A mural depicting George Floyd outside the Laugh Factory in Hollywood was vandalized this week, officials at the Sunset Boulevard establishment said.

The work — a large image of Floyd’s face alongside the names of other victims of police killings — was vandalized late Sunday or early Monday, Laugh Factory communications director Greg Waskul said.

Floyd, a Black man detained on suspicion of passing a counterfeit $20 bill at a Minneapolis store, was murdered by then-Police Officer Derek Chauvin in May 2020 when the white officer pressed his knee against Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes.

Bystander video of Floyd’s arrest prompted protests around the world.

Large portions of the Laugh Factory mural, which also included the words “We the People,” were defaced with white paint, which Waskul said appeared to be thrown and then smeared. The Los Angeles Police Department confirmed the vandalism.

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“This is not some kid with a spray can. This is an act of hate,” Waskul said. “It’s very, very sad that this is where we’re at in the community.”

On Thursday morning, the white-smeared image beneath a comedy club awning drew the notice of passersby. Laugh Factory founder and CEO Jamie Masada said he planned to have it fixed. He said the mural had been defaced — although in more minor ways — five times since it was installed.

MuckRock, the artist who painted the mural, said she would return to the Laugh Factory to try to resurrect her work on Saturday. She said, via text message, she would “probably just repaint the mural, depending how badly it’s covered.”

“Right now,” she added, “with it sitting there like that it feels terrible, for anyone having to see it.”

She invited anyone interested in learning how she would repair it to join her on Saturday.

On social media, several people expressed their outrage over the defacement.

“All I’m feeling is rage and sadness,” one user identified as @BelleEspritNoir on Twitter said of driving past the blotted-out painting. “Nothing but pure hatred exists in someone who would deface a mural honoring that man’s life.”


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