Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio no longer appear on several ads for Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”, as a street artist has swapped their images with those of charged sex offender billionaire Jeffrey Epstein and convicted fugitive film director Roman Polanski, and even suggestively retitled the advertised movie – “Once Upon a Time in Pedowood”.
The film promoted on the original gargantuan billboards at Pico and La Cienega, Los Angeles hit the screens on Thursday night and hours later, a whole street crew went out into the dark of night to put the altered ads in place at bus stops, benches, etc., well beyond just the billboard, Hollywood Reporter wrote.
An artist named Sabo is behind the spectacle, which he says was designed as a swipe at Hollywood for embracing Polanski, who pleaded guilty to the rape of an underage girl in 1977 and also Epstein, who is currently awaiting trial in Manhattan jail after having been charged with sex trafficking of minors earlier in July.
While Polanski, who directed “Chinatown” and The Pianist”, belongs to the Hollywood community himself, although he was expelled from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts in 2018, tycoon Epstein was frequently seen hanging around with Hollywood A-listers.
Separately, one bench ad exploits an image of Woody Allen instead of Polanski, as Allen was accused of abusing his adoptive daughter, Dylan Farrow, when she was seven.
Sabo said he felt that they “should all share a billboard to highlight a decades-old problem that has plagued Hollywood for decades: the abuse of children”.
The artist also explained that one of the most infamous crimes of the 20th century underlies the “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood”, where Margot Robbie plays Sharon Tate, the real actor and Polanski’s first wife, who was a victim of the 1969 murders committed by followers of notorious cult leader Charles Manson.
The vandalised billboard was shortly taken down.
Over 40 years ago, Polanski, who had hoped to be put on probation after pleading guilty to unlawful sex with a minor, fled to France prior to sentencing, having learned that the judge wanted to imprison him.
Epstein has pleaded not guilty in the sex trafficking case, whereby he was charged for having sex with underage girls, under the pretence of being given massages, and making them recruit others. Judge Richard Berman last week denied the financier’s request to be released on bail of upward of $100 million. Berman pointed to the risk that Epstein would use his vast wealth to flee, as well as continue to give in to his "uncontrollable" sexual fixation with young girls.