On 26 October 2016, GOP candidate Donald Trump’s Hollywood Walk of Fame star was severely damaged by at least one vandal in an incident police said was caught on video:
Los Angeles police expect to arrest someone for the vandalism, which left Trump’s name scratched out of the star, the emblem in the middle dislodged and chips missing … A video posted at Deadline.com, a Hollywood media industry website, showed a man wearing a hard-hat and reflective vest swinging a sledgehammer and pick-axe in the pre-dawn darkness.
Los Angeles police spokeswoman Liliana Preciado at the scene confirmed investigators have video capturing the vandalism attack and she said police expected to arrest whoever was responsible. Los Angeles-based City News Service reported a man identifying himself as James Lambert Otis said he damaged the installation “to make a point.”
A senior editor for entertainment publication Deadline was an inadvertent witness to the early-morning act, claiming that the alleged perpetrator stated he wished to auction the Walk of Fame tile to benefit women who accused Trump of sexual harassment:
A spokeswoman for the Los Angeles Police Department, Officer Norma Eisenman, said the authorities received a phone call reporting the attempt at about 6 a.m. The defaced site was later secured, and a tent placed over the star, Officer Eisenman said.
The witness, Dominic Patten, a senior editor at Deadline Hollywood, which initially reported the news, said the man told him he wanted to auction the star and raise money on behalf of the nearly dozen women who have accused Mr. Trump of sexual assault or sexual harassment.
Deadline claimed to possess “exclusive video” of the incident, adding that interference with the candidate’s plaque was a somewhat regular occurrence throughout the 2016 election. The appended clip revealed that the star was not removed by the depicted individual, just heavily damaged:
The embedded terrazzo and brass star, dedicated in 2007 in recognition of the now-GOP presidential candidate’s days as host of NBC’s The Apprentice, was smashed to bits, with shrapnel flying everywhere in the early-morning hours at the star’s sidewalk home at 6801 Hollywood Blvd. near the Dolby Theatre.
The incident occurred around 5:45 AM with a few bystanders stopping to watch. An LAPD police cruiser showed up around 6:15, but Otis already had left the scene.
Trump’s star has had its share of attention since he announced his White House bid in 2015, including a reverse swastika spray-painted over it in January and a mute sign painted over it in June. Later in the summer, an L.A. artist erected a small razor-wire-topped wall around the star, a knock on Trump’s plans to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.
The clip is not embeddable but appears to document the entirety of the incident (along with at least one other bystander filming it):
The Los Angeles Times has reported on separate acts of vandalism aimed at the Walk of Fame tiles of other stars, including Bill Cosby’s. On 1 January 2016 an image circulated that purportedly depicted the officially sanctioned removal of Cosby’s star. The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce (which manages the Walk of Fame) affirmed that stars are not removed for any reason, and the attendant photograph depicted routine cleaning of the landmark. In April 2016, similar rumors suggested that Trump’s Walk of Fame star was regularly defecated upon (by humans or pets). At the time of that claim’s circulation, the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce denied receiving any complaints about such incidents in spite of widespread social media rumors.