WARNING: Video contains vulgar gesture. Viewer discretion advised
By Marty Graham
SAN DIEGO (Reuters) – Steve-O, one of the stars of the TV show “Jackass,” could face criminal charges after he defaced a San Diego highway sign with a green banner that left it reading: “SeaWorld Sucks,” officials said on Thursday.
In a video entitled “Breaking the Law” that was posted online Wednesday, Steve-O is seen making several attempts over two days to climb the sign with a rope. He finally uses a ladder and tapes the word ‘Sucks’ over the word ‘Drive.’
The prank follows last year’s release of the documentary movie “Blackfish,” which makes a case against keeping orcas in captivity. SeaWorld Entertainment Inc has called the documentary “inaccurate and misleading.”
“I’m putting my foot down for Shamu,” Steve-O says in his video, referring to SeaWorld’s most famous orca. “If doing that is wrong, I don’t want to be right. Screw you SeaWorld.”
The 40-year-old British-born actor, whose name is Stephen Glover, encouraged supporters to share the two-minute film on social media using the hashtag #SeaworldSucks.
SeaWorld spokesman David Koontz said the organization has no comment on the prank, which apparently took place in May.
Last week SeaWorld said it will nearly double the size of its San Diego killer whale tank and expand similar enclosures in Florida and Texas amid the criticism.
The California Department of Transportation agreed with the video’s title: that Steve-O was committing a crime.
“We consider defacing public property at a cost to state taxpayers an unlawful act and a dangerous distraction for motorists,” the department said in a statement.
It said the sign needed replacing at a cost of more than $7,000 because the adhesive used had pulled off its reflective sheeting, and it said it was referring all information about the case to the California Highway Patrol (CHP).
“Not figured into the equation is the danger to highway workers and the inconvenience to motorists,” it added.
CHP spokesman Jake Sanchez confirmed on Thursday the highway patrol was passed a case of alleged vandalism for investigation and possible prosecution in connection with the incident.
(Reporting by Marty Graham; Editing by Daniel Wallis and Eric Walsh)