Citys divisive decision is largely symbolic and provides a talking point for conservatives angry at the left
The feisty, impeccably liberal city of West Hollywood struck a resounding, If symbolic, blow against Donald Trump when it voted on Monday night to remove the presidents star from the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
There was, however, a snag.
While the star is not far from West Hollywood, it is not in fact in West Hollywood. And the vote following a rowdy public meeting in which the councils actions were praised by a man now facing a felony vandalism charge for demolishing Trumps star with a pickaxe unleashed a torrent of invective from the presidents fans, as well as anguish about misplaced priorities on both sides of the political aisle.
Liberal hand-wringers pointed out that the resolution said nothing about Bill Cosby, Kevin spacey and others accused of abusive sexual behavior whose stars remain intact. Conservatives alternately expressed disgust and rubbed their hands with glee at the sight of liberal west coasters doing exactly what conservatives always like to accuse them of doing seeking to censor, banish and remove material they find offensive despite their nominal adherence to free speech.
To maintain a level sidewalk, the Television personality and Fox news stalwart Geraldo Rivera tweeted acidly, I assume all the other stars displayed will now be given the same character reviews and background checks to determine If their stars too deserve mutilation and banishment.
The most imMediate issue was West Hollywoods lack of jurisdiction. While the resolution, passed unanimously, offered a laundry list of Trumps sins everything from his treatment of Women to his separation of immigrant families at the border it could do no more than urge the relevant authorities, the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce and the city of Los Angeles, to do what it could not.
The likelihood of satisfaction from those quarters seemed doubtful, at best. The only celebrity to be denied a star on the Walk of Fame was Charlie Chaplin, back in 1956, because of concerns about his sexual morality and his leftwing politics. In his case, though, the star never made it to the sidewalk of Hollywood Boulevard at least not until he was reconsidered and reinstated 16 years later.
When activists in the #MeToo movement proposed removing a handful of stars last year their targets included Trump, spacey, Cosby and the director Brett Ratner the answer was a resounding no. Once a star has been added to the Walk, it is considered a part of the historic fabric of the Hollywood Walk of Fame, the Chamber said in a statement. Because of this, we have never removed a star from the Walk.
Monday nights meeting featured a boisterous crowd of more than a hundred people, running the political gamut. The mayor, John Duran, at one point rebuked someone in the crowd for making an anti-transgender remark. The Trump supporters, meanwhile, were aghast when Austin Clay, the self-confessed pickaxe vandal who destroyed Trumps star last month, made a speech about the importance of public safety and preserving the integrity of the Walk of Fame as an honorable landmark.
Clay is one of two anti-Trump activists who have taken a pickaxe to Trumps star since he started running for president. The star has also been enclosed with a miniature border wall, daubed with everything from profanities to a swastika and adorned with a gold-painted toilet with an invitation to passers-by to take a Trump.
Clay now faces up to three years in prison for his actions, which triggered a brawl between pro- and anti-Trump factions at the scene of his crime.