Hollywood Hills resident Andrew Rudick is on a mission.
Over the last three years, he’s submitted public records requests, retrieved case documents from the Los Angeles County Superior Court, spoken at City Council meetings and corresponded with government officials.
“The reasonably conveyed message to the millions who have walked past that plaque since 2021 is the city’s endorsement of a man who attempted a coup against the United States,” Rudick said at a Los Angeles City Council meeting earlier this month.
Although multiple City Council members said they do not support the former president and would like to see his star removed, nobody knows exactly how to make that happen. Several groups with varying levels of jurisdiction have a hand in operating the Walk of Fame, including the City Council, the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce and the Hollywood Historic Trust.
The removal of a star is unprecedented, and a process for doing so has never been established. Rudick’s activism, however, is forcing city officials to confront the unknown.
The star itself draws all kinds of attention.
Elodie Toutain, a 21-year-old originally from France, said she stomped on Trump’s star while visiting the Walk of Fame this month. “There are so many people who have better intentions than him,” she said.
The star has been vandalized and smashed several times, costing more than $20,000 in repairs since 2016, according to the Hollywood Historic Trust. One street artist placed prison bars on the star in 2021 and brought a toilet, bathtub and stacks of fake documents to the site of the star in 2023 in a reference to the Mar-a-Lago classified documents case.
Stuart G, who declined to share his last name for privacy reasons, has been selling Trump merchandise beside the star since August.
“Trump offends people, and those people want to have his star removed,” Stuart said. “But I don’t think he’s half as bad as some of the other people on here.”
Spade Cooley, a swing musician who earned his star in 1960, was convicted of murdering his wife one year later.
In 2015, Leron Gubler, then president and chief executive of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, told The Times that stars could not be removed. There were calls that year to remove the star belonging to Bill Cosby, who has been accused of sexual misconduct by more than 45 women and was found guilty of aggravated indecent assault in 2018. His conviction was later overturned.
“Once a star has been added to the Walk, it is considered a part of the historic fabric of the Hollywood Walk of Fame,” Gubler told The Times in 2015 in an emailed statement. “Because of this, we have never removed a star from the Walk.”
But the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce has since changed its tune. According to Ana Martinez, the chamber’s vice president of media and talent relations, the chamber doesn’t have the power to remove a star.
“The Chamber is authorized by the City to administer Walk of Fame ceremonies, select and honor the recipient, order the fabrication of the star and place the star in the sidewalk,” Martinez said in an email, “but the Chamber does not have the authority from any jurisdiction to permanently remove a star. … We don’t understand why people think we do have that authority.”
A felony complaint filed against James Lambert Otis, who destroyed the Trump star with a pickax and sledgehammer in 2020, says the star is owned by the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce. But a spokesperson for the chamber told The Times the city owns all the stars and the sidewalks they’re embedded in.
Rudick said he believes the authority to remove a star lies with the City Council, which has the final say in approving new stars, but City Council members could not confirm this was the case.
“I don’t know whose responsibility it is,” Councilmember Bob Blumenfield said in an interview. “There are a number of folks, including both Cosby and Trump, who certainly don’t deserve a star given what we now know about them.”
Trump was awarded his star in 2007 for his role on “The Apprentice” and his work as a producer of the Miss Universe pageant. His star ceremony was held in January 2007, when the star was unveiled at 6801 Hollywood Blvd., near Highland Avenue.
Blumenfield said he would support the removal of Trump’s star if the issue came before the City Council, but he’s giving priority to other issues. “I will not be leading the charge on this,” he said.
The City Council unanimously passed a resolution in 2021 calling for Trump’s impeachment for his involvement in the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol. Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson, who was one of four members to introduce the resolution, declined to comment on calls to remove Trump’s star.
Mayor Karen Bass’ press secretary, Clara Karger, said the mayor does not support Trump, but didn’t comment further.
Councilmember Hugo Soto-Martínez, who represents the district containing the Walk of Fame, may be more likely to take action.
“Donald Trump is a racist, fascist, and a threat to our democracy,” Soto-Martínez said in a statement. “Since there’s no known precedent for removing a star from the Hollywood Walk of Fame, we’re looking into where the authority lies, what the legal issues may be, and what a process for it might look like.”
Trump’s representatives did not respond to a request for comment. The Republican Party of Los Angeles County said any efforts to remove Trump’s star would be a waste of time.
“Los Angeles government fails on every level,” a spokesperson for the party said in an email. “They should focus on their job — getting all our sidewalks clean and safe.”
The Los Angeles City Council has so far avoided engaging in the process of removing a star. In 2018, the West Hollywood City Council unanimously passed a resolution requesting that L.A. remove Trump’s star from the Walk of Fame. The resolution was never acted on.
As a Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument, the Walk of Fame receives some protections dictated by the city’s Cultural Heritage Ordinance. But changing or removing one star would not violate these protections, according to the city Planning Department.
“Changing lettering on one or a handful of star panels out of over 2,700 would not constitute a substantial alteration to the Monument,” a city planning representative said in an email. “The removal of any individual’s name and recognition emblem would leave intact the historic materials that make up the remainder of the Walk of Fame.”
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The Walk of Fame is not a California Historical Landmark, said Jay Correia of the California Office of Historic Preservation, although it is commonly mistaken as one. There is a lot of confusion surrounding the landmark status of the Walk of Fame, Correia said.
The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce itself incorrectly claimed that the Walk of Fame was included in the National Register of Historic Places. It is included only in the California Register of Historical Resources.
“Even though the property is listed in the California Register, all land use authority resides with the City of Los Angeles,” Correia said. “None of what we do overrides local land use policy.”
In other words, it’s theoretically up to the Los Angeles City Council to decide to remove a star. According to Rudick, the first step is simple: City Council should ask the city attorney to draft a report on a star removal process.
Rudick has tried to speed up the process himself. In June, he submitted a proposal to Soto-Martínez to replace the Trump star with a star for “the Entertainment Workers of Los Angeles.”
Replacing a star might come with less red tape than removing one, Rudick said, but he has not yet received a response to his proposal.
Rudick, a former casting associate, said he can’t allow his city to continue to endorse a figure who represents hate and exclusion. He started a petition in June to remove Trump’s star, which now has more than 3,800 signatures.
“I’ve been in this because it’s the right thing to do,” Rudick said.