A Los Angeles artist who goes by “Plastic Jesus” erected an 8-foot-tall Oscar statuette depicted shooting up heroin with the placard “Hollywood’s Best Kept Secret” on Friday, at the intersection of Hollywood and LaBrea — right near to the Oscars’ Red Carpet. The timing of this was especially squicky, as it coincided with the release of Philip Seymour Hoffman’s autopsy. Yikes, yikes, yikes. Yiiiiiiiikes. Mr. Jesus spoke to The Wrap about his project:
The artist told TheWrap on Saturday that he wants to end the stigma surrounding hard drug use so that addicts — such as Hoffman — will get the help they need. Plastic Jesus said his cousin and her partner both died of heroin overdoses.
“I’m not out there shouting for the abolition of all drugs,” said the British-born artist, who is in his mid-40s and has been in Los Angeles for the last decade. “The piece is really to bring attention about the lack of understanding and support. … In Hollywood people almost proudly boast that they’re a member of Alcoholics Anonymous. That’s a good thing. However, with hard drug use, there’s still so much of a stigma attached. It’s swept under the carpet and people don’t get the support that should be available to them.”
Plastic Jesus was eventually forced to remove the statue, which is probably not a terrible thing because it likely would have made a lot of people really, really upset at what is already going to be an emotional Academy Awards ceremony. This is like one of those things, though, like whenever some wackjob shoots up a school full of kids and both sides of the political spectrum immediately jump into the fray, frothing at one another. Should there be a period of time to allow for respect of the victim(s) or is there ever really a time to not to have a dialogue about serious issues like gun control or drug abuse? I guess if his project compelled even one person out there to get the help they need, it was completely worth it.