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The day after a chaotic protest gathered around what used to be Trump’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, anti-Trump protestor James Lambert Otis was asked to leave the penthouse of the Trump International Hotel in Las Vegas on the morning of Nov. 5, kiboshing his plans to barricade himself in as part of a peaceful protest against the GOP candidate’s slurs directed at women and minority groups.
Otis’ hope was to carve a hole in the window of the $2,300-per-night suite and wave a 12-foot American flag. Instead, Otis, who was arrested last month for destroying Trump’s star on Hollywood Boulevard’s Walk of Fame, found himself confronted with a roomful of men in uniform — city police, troopers, hotel security and the general manager.
“The GM was really nice, the head of security, I said, ‘Do you mind if I pick something up? Could I buy a Trump robe? They’re beautiful.’ They said, ‘No,’” Otis told The Hollywood Reporter by phone as he drove through the desert following his foiled plan scheduled for the day before the election in a crucial swing state. Otis checked in under the name Lambert-Otis at 3:30 a.m. Saturday. Hours later, he says he was met on the curb with a show of force and an employee reading him the Riot Act. The experience has made him reluctant to return to a Trump property.
A week after admittedly vandalizing the candidate’s star, Otis announced he would be filing a lawsuit Nov. 7 against Trump, The Trump Organization and the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce for removal of the star, which he says inspires lewd acts and violence at a cost to taxpayers. He also claimed that new Trump accusers would be coming forward after the election. Throughout the bizarre press event, Otis was relentlessly heckled by a right-wing Spider-Man and other Trump supporters.
A descendant of elevator pioneer Elisha Otis, James Lambert Otis is a 52-year-old peace activist and non-violence devotee with interests in art, real estate and filmmaking. He says he counts among his friends director Richard Linklater, whom he says he interned for in the 1990s and who helped get Otis’ 1998 TV documentary, Secrets of the CIA, made. He also claims Spike Jonze as a friend, after he met the director’s mother, Sandra L. Granzow, in a Gandhi chatroom. “We set up a little date together in New York. I didn’t know she was 70,” he laughs. “We joked and totally hit it off.”
Otis’ next scheduled court date is Nov. 18, when he will face three years and fines on felony counts for the destruction of Trump’s star. He intended to auction the remnants of the star to pay whatever legal fees Trump accusers might incur should they come forward. Instead, he was ordered to return the battered emblem, which he had hidden with his father in a hospice outside the city.
Between now and Election Day, Otis hopes, through non-violent means, to bring as much attention as possible to Trump’s lewd behavior and hold the candidate accountable. “Men, don’t treat woman, like you do. You have committed criminal acts of which you will be held accountable for,” Otis wrote in a message sent to a group including Linklater, Jonze and members of the press. “Gentleman, treat woman w kindness, love, understanding and protection for that is the cornerstone of our great democracy for the greatest Country in the world.”
When asked about his relationship with Otis, via an email to the address that Otis used to reach out to him, Jonze simply replied: “monkey dog monkey dog.”
In the end, Otis was refunded his $2,300 for the penthouse, which he reluctantly admits was kind of impressive. “Trump’s name is everywhere in the room,” he says with a sigh. “He even has his name in the garbage can.”
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