A Los Angeles gym owner is fighting her landlord to keep a mural that was painted to honor Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant from becoming advertising space.
As People Magazine reports, Celia Moran, the owner of Hardcore Fitness, wants the mural to remain up. In an interview with the LA Times, Moran says, “It’s a piece of art that is honoring an iconic person. That mural also benefits advertising and has a lot of meaning to the city and to Kobe fans. So I said I don’t agree. I don’t want to make the fans mad, and I don’t want to be disrespectful, and I don’t think that mural should be removed.”
Moran’s landlord indicated that he would have the mural removed and send her the bill for the removal if she does not comply with his wishes. The mural was painted for the gym by Louie Palsino three years ago and depicts Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna lovingly looking at each other adorned with angel wings. Gianna perished with her father in a tragic helicopter crash on January 26, 2020, in Calabasas, Calif.
“Even if the landlord wants to make money, that’s a landmark people come from all around the world to visit, so it’s good for him, his property, every party in this,” Palsino told The LA Times, adding that it doesn’t make “much sense in taking it down for advertisement.”
Moran did get her landlord’s permission before letting Palsino create the mural, but her landlord was aware of its creation and did not object to it, she claims.Palsino asked Moran for permission to create the mural shortly after the deaths of Kobe and Gianna, and Moran put up $2,500 of her own money towards supplies and equipment.
As of the time of writing, a Change.com petition requesting that Moran’s landlord reverse course on the mural has accumulated over 64,000 signatures with 54,000 of those coming on Sept 17. Vanessa Bryant has also shared a link to the petition using Instagram Stories, asking for people to “Please sign this petition to save this beautiful Kobe & Gianna Mural,” which is likely the reason for the massive increase in signatures. Moran’s landlord, however, has yet to respond publicly to either the request from Bryant or Moran’s public statements.
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