A man was arrested on Santa Monica Boulevard this morning and charged with vandalism for defacing two murals on the city’s sidewalks promoting the L.A. LGBT Center’s PrEP awareness campaign.
Francis O’Brien, a Los Angeles resident in his late 60s, was charged with felony vandalism and released after posting bail.
The murals, one at 8857 Santa Monica Blvd. near Larrabee, the location of Micky’s, and the other at 8801 Santa Monica near Palm, the location of Yogurt Stop, contain a slogan – “F*ck W/Out Fear” — that the Center describes as raw and real and sex-positive. It is meant to promote use of PrEP, or pre-exposure prophylaxis, a regimen that can lower one’s risk of HIV infection by 99%. PrEP requires taking Truvada, a blue pill, once daily. The Center and other gay-oriented organizations have worked to promote PrEP to both those who are at risk of HIV infection and to doctors who might prescribe it.
O’Brien sprayed out the “F*ck” word with red paint on both sidewalk murals. Deputy Frank Diana of the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station said O’Brien told Sheriff’s deputies that the word offended him.
“I applaud the Sheriff’s Department for catching the person doing this,” said Jim Key, the Center’s chief marketing officer. “This is a public health campaign to help those most at risk of HIV to learn that there’s a pill to prevent. It’s outrageous that someone would do this.”
The PrEP murals have been put at five locations on Santa Monica Boulevard. One in front of Rage bar on Santa Monica west of San Vicente already had been defaced with red paint. Someone also already had put tape over the work “F*ck” in front of Yogurt Stop, one of whose owners has objected to the word.
“We’ve had a lot of customers come in upset,” said Shoshana Joseph of Yogurt Stop. “They are ashamed and embarrassed by the words. Parents are appalled. Tourists are appalled.”
since prep isn’t 100% foolproof, it really shouldn’t have the “f*ck without fear” slogan. false advertising since there, of course, should be a fear for that reason. as for offending people, how hard would it have been to use the phrase “love without fear”? it wouldn’t offend people and it gives more meaning to sex than just sex, which, unfortunately is the stereotype for gay male motivation.
Great point. Thanks for sharing. Love always Win. Not always in West Hollywood.
Why is West Hollywood treated like the whole city is Gay and all Gay men are whores?
JT3, as a PrEP user, and one who knows many more who are, your assignment of a “typical PrEP user” is extremely insulting. And you aren’t backing that up with any facts. It is just your opinion, which is probably being forged from using online apps. You don’t know what a “typical PrEP user” is. Further, did you know that there are many out there not using condoms that AREN’T on PrEP? Because some guys aren’t afraid of HIV anymore. This is a powerful tool in the prevention of HIV, and I think this campaign is awesome. I say, if… Read more »
Love the art….love the campaign….love the sheriffs for arresting this criminal. Gee…I don’t like something on city property, so I will just vandalize it….NO…THAT’S NOT HOW IT WORKS. Make him pay the clean up fee, the art fee to have it repainted, and write 1000 times, I will be a law abiding citizen. regardless of my puritanical views.
Awesome! This keeps up and this will be one of the most successful ad campaigns ever! There will always be conspiracy theorists, those easily offended, and yes, even really bad pharmaceutical companies, but at least this ad campaign is getting people’s attention. It seems people forget that you must be prescribed PrEP. It’s not like they’re just handing out sample packets of Truvada along the boulevard. The doctor prescribing the drug is trained to counsel the patient on the risks of the prescribed drug and clarify any misunderstandings about what the daily usage of PrEP does do (decreases transmission of… Read more »
Please, “f*ck” upsets people?! seriously?! But young men dying by the dozens in a single day from the HIV/AIDS plague is not a problem? I don’t understand all the upset over a treatment that saves lives and prevents suffering from this horrible virus. This is a campaign to raise awareness about it, which is an effective message and gets the point across in a no bs way. Ironically, folks will watch movies with people being shot and blown to smithereens, but anything sexually positive (or *gasp* supportive of gay sex) and there’s a mad dive to clutch one’s pearls. I… Read more »
I agree with you 100% . This city worry too much about looking good but forget the real issues we facing in West Hollywood. Not the first time, trust me. Enough is Enough with being politically correct and time to walk our talk. Our city council members are very good in taking but the forget to deal with the truth and the facts. So sad.
I hope we had more individual that will be A VOICE.
If the city leaders don’t do it, someone does.
Read WEHOville article how Low is the % of gay men using it?
Simple Because it is not a priority just like other issues we “forget”.
One think is for sure, More People will start talking about PrEP.
It’s not about good or bad.
Prep is people Choice,
but one think is for sure,
We must educate people about the pill and let them make they own choice.
Here’s a typical Prep user: I’m negative, on Prep, Do you BB? (And this is the first question) Um. How does this statement make sense? Negative (sure, prove it.) Prep (Prove you take that every day), BB (So Prep is code for unprotected sex with no consequences of the countless other STDs let alone the super virus for people who BB on Prep). This experiment in neurotoxic pharma is going to be a nightmare. I guarantee Prep will be pulled off market in 10 years (likely to be repackaged like all the other drugs after pharma gets sued). All Prep… Read more »
Provocation works. This is now news and the message can reach more people. Object to the language all you want, this issue needs to be discussed so people can become informed and make their own decisions. Maybe some of these offended “parents” and “tourists” can learn a thing or two and discuss sex in a positive light with their children and neighbors.
It’s very meta that the city let an organization paint advertisements on the sidewalk featuring a curse word, and those sidewalk-painted curse words are being vandalized.
I’d be upset yet not on this issue. Give him a trophy. Youth needs to be reminded to use condoms not drugs with no consequences. Big Pharma doesn’t care about you. They want to drug you and destroy your immune system. The movie Vaxxed should be on everyone’s radar and why did the CDC pressure Deniro to pull it out of Trebecca? Because it’s alarmingly true. We can’t trust pharma.
Instead of painting over it, the guy should have used a power washer (with a little soap). Would have done the trick and wouldn’t have been considered vandalism. This city is sometimes an embarrassment. That kind of “marketing” belongs in the restrooms of bars (18+) not plastered on our streets.