Chris Brown's lawyer says neighbors harassing pop star
By Kate Mather and Richard Winton
May 11, 2013, 8:05 a.m.
Chris Brown's street art
Neighbors are angry at entertainer Chris Brown's street art painted outside his Hollywood Hills home May 10. (Barbara Davidson / Los Angeles Times / May 10, 2013)
Chris Brown's attorney is slamming neighbors who are demanding the star remove street art-style murals from his Hollywood Hills home.
Neighbors claim the monsters are scaring neighborhood kids and ruining the hillside aesthetic of the area below Lake Hollywood.
"There are lots of babies, lots of children, and they're literally frightened. It's like devils on the wall — big scary eyes and big scary teeth, and just the whole vibe is not what we're used to," said Patti Negri, president of the Hollywood Dell Civic Assn.
Responding to complaints about the monster art, L.A. city code officials cited Brown for unpermitted and excessive signage and ordered him to remove the art within 30 days. He also faces fines that start at $376 but could rise significantly if he fails to comply.
Brown's attorney, Mark Geragos, said the musician is not backing down. He says it's the neighbors who are harassing Brown.
"I'm scared of neighborhood busybodies like this," Geragos said. "They've called animal control. They have sicced parking [enforcement] on him, and now they reached the heights of ridiculousness here. Shame on them."
Geragos said the city can expect a legal fight over Brown's personal artwork, which unwittingly thrust him into one of L.A.'s longest-running civic debates. Although the city has a reputation for being the street mural capital of the world, much of that artwork has been done illicitly.
City ordinances make it illegal to create murals on the vast majority of private properties.
"They are trying to suspend the 1st Amendment," Geragos said.
Brown is far from the first celebrity to ruffle neighborhood feathers. Not far away, Madonna drew protests in the 1990s when she painted her Hollywood Hills home in red and yellow stripes. Residents pulled the welcome mat from Lindsay Lohan over an endless procession of paparazzi and others speeding on her street. Justin Bieber's neighbors in Calabasas complain that his entourage regularly races through the suburban gated community.
Negri remains hopeful that Brown and his neighbors can mend fences.
"I know a $300 fine is probably pocket change. But hopefully and maybe, he'll just see the light and decide to be a good neighbor," she said. "We're happy to have him — if he just tones it down."