HBO removed a billboard that was seen covering up one of the many murals in Los Angeles dedicated to the late NBA star Kobe Bryant.
The mural was located near The Grove in Los Angeles’ Fairfax district. The HBO billboard was first shared on Twitter by Patrick Muldowney, The Ringer’s senior director of social video.
Where there used to be a Kobe mural, there’s now an HBO billboard.
— patrick (@muldowney) June 16, 2020
After TheWrap reached out to WarnerMedia about the billboard, the company then contacted the vendor to take down the billboard. According to an individual with knowledge of the situation, this was part of an overall outdoor buy that included a vendor called Great Outdoor, and the company was not aware that the mural would be obscured. The original mural has not been damaged in any way.
Great Outdoor, which owns that space, initially commissioned the mural, and gave us their response:
“We actually commissioned the artist to paint this mural up there because we had a couple open months on it. This idea was all approved by the artist and we preserved the mural so in between ad campaigns the mural will be back. The artist told us that he will reach out to anyone that says anything to let them know that he approved this idea and he was trying to find a creative way to support Kobe’s foundation. This mural is owned by us and we are protecting it.”
The artist who created mural is Gustavo Zermeño Jr.
Kobe Bryant and his teenage daughter Gianna were killed with seven others in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California, on Jan. 26. The group was on their way to a basketball practice at Bryant’s Mamba Academy in nearby Thousand Oaks.
Shortly after his death, murals and other tributes quickly sprung up all throughout Los Angeles and many remained untouched during the recent protests against police brutality. Bryant played his entire 20-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers, winning five championships and was adored throughout the city.
Muldowney’s tweet was met with widespread derision directed at HBO and WarnerMedia for choosing to cover up the mural of Bryant with an advertisement. But now the mural is back in full view.