Los Angeles (AFP): An axe-wielding protester hacked out the gold lettering and television logo on Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Wednesday.
A man who identified himself to a local news agency as James Lambert Otis said he was the vandal, and had originally intended to remove the entire star from the sidewalk on Hollywood Boulevard.
He said he was going to auction it and donate the proceeds to the women who allege they were groped or sexually mistreated by Trump — charges the real estate tycoon denies — but was unable to lift the slab.
“It was very difficult. The stone was like marble — hard to get through,” he said about an hour after the 5:45 am attack on the star.
Dressed in construction overalls, Otis said he used a sledgehammer and pick to hack away Trump’s name and the logo indicating the star had been awarded in the category of television — for Trump’s work on his reality show, “The Apprentice.”
Otis said he still hoped to sell the pilfered pieces and return to do the star further damage.
“I’m not frightened of jail and I’m certainly not frightened of Mr Trump,” said the man, who claims to have been arrested around two dozen times for protesting various causes.
“This is as bad as hacking the Statue of Liberty,” said onlooker Melrose Larry Green, 65, who described the vandalism as “disgusting.”
“Someone doesn’t want to vote for Donald Trump, that’s fine, go and vote for Hillary Clinton. But this is disgraceful. All this is going to do is get more votes for Donald Trump.”
This is not the first time the 70-year-old Trump’s Walk of Fame star, which he got in 2007, has been targeted.
In July, a Los Angeles street artist built a six-inch (15-centimeter) wall of wooden planks topped with barbed wire around the monument.
Trump has repeatedly vowed during his campaign to build a wall between Mexico and the United States, drawing criticism from rights groups.
Last year, excrement was left on the star and someone drew a large yellow X over it.
A swastika and a mute symbol were also drawn on the red tile earlier this year.
“Today is Hillary Clinton’s birthday and I have a feeling that somebody decided to give her a birthday present,” said Angela Turner, 71, a bystander at the scene of the latest attack.
Liliana Preciado, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles Police Department, told AFP a “male, Caucasian, approximately six feet (183 cm) tall” had used a pickaxe and sledgehammer on the star.
“We have surveillance video as well as video that has been uploaded to the internet that our detectives are taking a look at and they are confident they will be able to identify the suspect,” she added.