People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals announced today that “Jackass” star Steve-O accepted an offer for the animal rights organization to cover the fine he faces for a stunt in which he defaced a freeway sign to take a swipe at SeaWorld for its alleged mistreatment of killer whales.
The 40-year-old, whose real name is Stephen Gilchrist Glover, was charged Monday with an infraction “comparable to speeding or a stop sign violation,” according to Gerry Braun, director of communications for the San Diego City Attorney’s Office.
In August, Glover posted a short clip to his YouTube page showing him clambering onto the green Caltrans sign over Interstate 5 on the afternoon of May 25 and covering the “Drive” in “Sea World Drive” with a piece of paper bearing the word “SUCKS.”
Glover was charged with an infraction of the California Vehicle Code section pertaining to interference with traffic devices “because distractions such as this can cause accidents, just like running a stop sign,” Braun said.
“It was not a smart thing to do to place drivers and their passengers in harm’s way,” Braun said. “Had anyone been injured, it is likely Mr. Glover would have faced a felony or misdemeanor depending upon the seriousness of the injury.”
Glover is scheduled to be arraigned Dec. 22 in the Kearny Mesa Branch of San Diego Superior Court. He can settle the case by paying a $239 fine before Dec. 22, or can elect to go to trial before a traffic court commissioner, Braun said.
PETA had previously offered to pay the fine.
“Everyone knows that SeaWorld sucks, from Steve-O to the Consumerist voters who named SeaWorld one of the worst companies in America,” says PETA Senior Vice President Lisa Lange. “PETA hopes that Steve-O’s envelope-pushing stunt will inspire kind people around the world to speak out against SeaWorld’s cruel orca prisons every chance that they get.”
SeaWorld has come under increased criticism since the release of “Blackfish,” a 2013 documentary that raised allegations of mistreatment of orcas at the marine theme parks.
SeaWorld officials vehemently deny the accusations and say the care received by the animals meets high standards set by zoological organizations.
Glover’s activities caused damage to the sign, and Caltrans has the right under the Vehicle Code to seek reimbursement for its expenses in repairing the sign, Braun said.
When Caltrans personnel removed Glover’s placard, the tape that had been used to adhere it pulled off reflective material from the sign, California Highway Patrol public affairs Officer Jake Sanchez said in September when he announced the agency was seeking criminal charges against Glover.
— City News Service
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