SAN DIEGO (Reuters) - Video provocateur Steven Glover, better known as Steve-O from the "Jackass" movies and television show, has been cited with a violation of the California Vehicle Code for altering a SeaWorld Drive exit sign to read: "SeaWorld Sucks," prosecutors said on Tuesday.
The MTV star in August posted a YouTube video of himself scaling the sign on Interstate 5 near San Diego three months earlier to tape a green banner with the word "Sucks" over the word "Drive."
Glover, 40, was cited for interfering with a traffic device, an offense that is roughly equivalent in seriousness to running a stop sign, San Diego City Attorney's spokesman Gerry Braun said. The maximum penalty is $239 plus court costs.
"It is an infraction because distractions such as this can cause accidents," Braun said. "Had anyone been injured, it is likely that Mr. Glover would have faced a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the seriousness of the injury."
Glover said in the video that he was inspired to deface the sign after seeing the movie documentary "Blackfish," which criticizes SeaWorld's practices in keeping killer whales in captivity for entertainment as inhumane. SeaWorld Entertainment Inc has called the documentary "inaccurate and misleading."
But the British-born Glover was apparently so moved by it that he spent two days trying to climb up to reach the highway sign, an escapade that involved the use of a rope and several ladders before he finally succeeded.
"I'm putting my foot down for Shamu," he said in his video, referring to SeaWorld's most famous orca. "If doing that is wrong, I don't want to be right. Screw you, SeaWorld."
At the time, SeaWorld spokesman David Koontz said the organization had no comment on the prank. But the California Department of Transportation issued a statement saying the sign would need to be replaced at a cost of more than $7,000 because the adhesive used had torn off the sign's reflective sheeting.
(Editing by Steve Gorman and Eric Walsh)