Neighbor debates in California are far from uncommon, but those involving Gilligan’s Island are certainly noteworthy. Which is why it’s necessary to close the loop on a court case involving a large glass sculpture, the pristine California landscape million-dollar homes can afford and the theme song to one of the most recognizable television shows in history. A judge has ruled that, yes, playing the Gilligan’s Island theme song at high levels on loop for hours does constitute harassment.
Earlier this year news became public that two parties in Laguna Beach were at odds over a blown-glass lawn sculpture made by artist Dale Chihuly. It’s all a bit complicated, and the Los Angeles Times has sorted it all out nicely in an article that recaps the weeks-long court case, which was paused when the two music-players, Bill Gross and his partner, Amy Schwartz, were potentially exposed to coronavirus.
“People have an expectation, rightfully so, that their home is their oasis and safe place,” said Knill, who cited multiple instances of music being played so loudly it could be heard inside neighbor Mark Towfiq’s home despite concrete construction and half-inch-thick, dual-pane windows.
The gist is this: the sculpture, and a large net apparently installed to avoid damage from falling tree limbs and other debris, put Gross and Schwartz at odds with their other extremely wealthy neighbor, Towfiq. The latter complained the netting, which apparently didn’t come down much, as well as the statue itself obscured his view of the scenery. Things escalated, with complaints and infighting and texts on both sides. But things got very weird when outdoor speakers directed at Towfiq’s property blared the Gilligan’s Island theme song on repeat for hours on end.
The Los Angeles Times recap of the trial and its conclusion included an extensive section about the Gilligan’s Island theme song. Laguna Beach police testified they heard loud music and responded to noise complaints, and that Towfiq described it “almost like PTSD” to hear the show’s theme played over and over during the dispute.
In support of the accusations, Towfiq’s attorney called to the stand Laguna Beach police officers, who testified that they heard loud music coming from the property while responding to noise complaints. One of the officers and a city code enforcement official also testified that Gross and Schwartz said they would lower the music if Towfiq dropped his complaint about the sculpture.
Towfiq’s lawyers highlighted a text from Gross responding to their client’s request to turn down the music: “Peace on all fronts or well just have nightly concerts big boy.” Gross testified that the text referred to Towfiq’s picture-taking, behavior that the bond investor described as “peeping.” Knill ruled the explanation was not “plausible.”
The judge in the case ruled last week that Gross and Schwartz are not allowed to play music on speakers outside when they’re not out there, which essentially enforces the noise rules and at least in theory gives Towfiq some peace. It’s unclear if this will settle things between the neighbors, but at least it might finally leave the Skipper out of it.
[via Los Angeles Times]