Today in a powerful metaphor for the way Donald Trump’s celebrity has plummeted, Deadline is reporting that a mysterious man named Jamie Otis (or James Otis) smashed the shit out of Trump’s star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame early this morning with a pickax and a sledgehammer. Otis claimed that he was doing it so he could auction off the pieces of the star and raise money for the many women who have accused Trump of sexual assault, in the event that he makes good on his threats to sue them. Now, that may sound like the sort of thing a cool, low-stakes Robin Hood might do, but we should be clear that what this man did was dangerous and illegal vandalism and he should not be praised for it in any way.
At least not until you watch the incredible video of Otis smashing the star at this Deadline link, which adds some interesting layers to the whole thing. For starters, Otis is wearing a reflective vest and is surrounded by orange cones, so he looks less like a madman smashing up the sidewalk with a hammer and more like a guy who is actually supposed to be there. This gives his whole thing an air of legitimacy, and it’s probably why he was able to pull this off without being arrested. Also, he seems to be very concerned with the safety of the crowd that has showed up to watch him work, which also makes his vandalism seem weirdly calm and rational.
Finally, there’s the aforementioned crowd, which includes a handful of people who are filming and taking pictures of the smashing. These people don’t try to stop him, which sends a message almost as clear as destroying the star in the first place does. Specifically, it indicates that Trump’s name has been tarnished so completely by his venom-filled presidential campaign that people will happily stand back and watch as a thing with his name on it is destroyed. It’s almost majestic, in a way.
Of course, the Hollywood Chamber Of Commerce has more of a negative perspective on this, releasing a statement that says “our democracy is based on respect for the law” and that “people can make a difference by voting and not destroying public property.” Also, due to the value of the star and the extent of the damage, the LAPD says that “the person responsible will be charged with a felony vandalism charge” and could face three years in jail and a $10,000 fine. As the manhunt for Jamie/James Otis begins, the star is already being repaired and replaced.