An image of a swastika was found taped up to a fence near the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) on Monday, February 13. LACMA security officers saw the sign near a service entrance around 7:15am and proceeded to remove it before reporting the incident to the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD). In a video posted on Twitter by CBC Radio journalist Samira Mohyeddin, the design as seen from one angle appears to depict the emblem of the Islamic Republic of Iran, transforming into the swastika as one walks by it.
A LACMA spokesperson told Hyperallergic that the museum has since increased security protocols. “LACMA strongly condemns all forms of hate, racism, and antisemitism,” the spokesperson said.
An LAPD detective, Ozzie Delgadillo, told the Shalhevet High School newspaper The Boiling Point, which first reported the story, that video surveillance showed an individual placing red, white, and black adhesive materials on the bars of a fence at S Fairfax Avenue and 6th Street.
The LAPD has not yet responded to Hyperallergic’s request for comment.
Initially, there were questions about whether or not the vandalism had actually taken place. Security officers at the Academy Museum told Boiling Point that they investigated one complaint that morning but were unable to locate the swastika image. LAPD wondered if the design had been doctored or projected. LACMA later confirmed that one of its security guards found and removed the banner.
Jacqueline Stewart, director and president of the Academy Museum, condemned the presence of the symbol on the fence, which is next to the institution’s campus.
“We are firmly against all forms of hate speech and are committed to creating a welcoming and respectful environment for all our visitors,” Stewart told Hyperallergic. “We have turned over all evidence to the Los Angeles Police Department, [which] has opened an investigation into this hate crime.”
Editor’s note 2/21/23 9:45am EST: This article has been edited to clarify that the banner was found near the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures and LACMA, not directly in front of LACMA.