Man Who Destroyed Trump's Star in 2016 Offers Legal Help to New Alleged Vandal
James Otis tried to bail Austin Clay out of jail, but a GoFundMe account beat him to it.
The 24-year-old man who is accused of taking a pickaxe to Donald Trump's star along the Hollywood Walk of Fame in the early morning hours Wednesday is being offered help from the man who destroyed the sidewalk marker during the presidential campaign two years ago.
The 2016 Walk of Fame star vandal, James Otis, told The Hollywood Reporter on Thursday that he is going to retain a lawyer for Austin Clay, arrested July 25 after allegedly destroying Trump's star, located at Hollywood Boulevard and North Highland Avenue.
Otis, the heir to the Otis elevator family, said he tried to post the $20,000 bail for Clay on Wednesday, but a GoFundMe started for the suspect made it happen before Otis could arrive.
"It was quite nice of the people who put that together," Otis said.
Asked how he felt about Clay being accused of doing what he did (the recent damage is far worse than 2016's), Otis replied, "Trump has done more damage to this country than any president before him. And every day, he does something more egregious. And he won't stop. Therefore, what Austin did ... I hear from people who know him, that it was a personal act. And that he will share a statement on why he did what he did."
Otis doesn't encourage vandalism, he said, but he stands by his actions in 2016, which resulted in him being slapped with three years of formal probation, 20 days of state Department of Transportation work and ordered to pay $3,700 to the Hollywood Historic Trust and $700 to the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce.
"In reflection, I wish I didn't have to break the cement because that was never the intent of it," he told THR. "It was more to get attention to the fact Trump is a misogynist and sexually assaulted many women. I am proud because it brought to light the fact the sexual assault is a real dangerous problem in our society and Trump is just making it worse."
Clay was booked on a charge of felony vandalism. He was released from jail just after midnight Wednesday, records show.
Hours after Trump's star was again destroyed, the Hollywood chamber released a statement with a plea for civility.
“The Hollywood Walk of Fame is an institution celebrating the positive contributions of the inductees,” Leron Gubler, the chamber’s president and CEO, states. “When people are unhappy with one of our honorees, we would hope that they would project their anger in more positive ways than to vandalize a California state landmark. Our democracy is based on respect for the law. People can make a difference by voting and not destroying public property.”
Otis said he completely understands why people would be upset and angry over a protest done in such a fashion, but it is a matter of degree.
"After [what] I had done, I was very remorseful that I had [damaged] the cement," he said. "But as the years have passed, I realized that Trump has done far worse than pickaxe a quarter-inch of concrete that will be fixed in two weeks."