Donald Trump's star outshines -- or dims -- Hollywood Walk of Fame

Story highlights

  • Trump supporters and tourists say he's earned his star on Hollywood walk
  • But vandals have defaced it and others strike obscene poses beside it
  • A Trump impersonator gets threats: "Let's put it this way: I'm keeping my eyes open"

Hollywood, California (CNN)Not even Bill Cosby's star draws as much controversy here as the one belonging to Donald Trump.

As the June California primary nears, tourists and vandals alike now flock to the brightest star -- or dimmest light, depending on your politics -- on the international attraction known as the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
    How crazy does it get?
    Just ask the impersonator wearing a Trump mask as he hustles for tips in exchange for posing with tourists beside the star honoring the GOP front-runner and his work on television.
    A Trump look-alike seeks cash tips in exchange for posing with tourists because "this Donald is broke."
    Sure, the lookalike in costume makes a good buck on some days, but he won't give his name.
    That's because some visitors verbally abuse him and even try to attack him.
    The impersonator even asks CNN to keep filming him -- just in case someone does attack him.
    "Let's put it this way: I'm keeping my eyes open," the impersonator said.
    By the way, he added, "I pose for tips. This Donald is broke."
    So perhaps it's appropriate that the Man of Steel -- the Superman impersonator -- identifies himself and recounts how visitors make obscene gestures beside the star, deface it with paint, and even allow a dog to once relieve itself on the landmark.
    "People often stomp with anger on the star, others kick their heels over the star, and some spit. The last time, someone put a sticker over the star," blotting out Trump's name, said Francisco Javier, another street performer who was dressed like Superman.
    These petty offenses are photographed and posted on social media. Trump's star sits prominently on Hollywood Boulevard, in front of the Hollywood and Highland Center mall and just down the block from the celebrity handprints and footprints at the former Mann's Chinese Theatre.
    Superman predicts an uglier future.
    "I suppose the situation will get worse as we approach the election," Javier said. "The people are getting very mad with the Donald Trump star. You know, it's about the last comments from him. He's speaking very bad about, you know, Latin people."
    At one point, a good ol'-fashioned Hollywood rumor arose: The Trump star was going to be removed.
    Not true, according to the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce.
    "The Hollywood Walk of Fame is a registered historic landmark. Once a star has been added to the Walk, it is considered a part of the historic fabric of the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Because of this, we have never removed a star from the Walk," President Leron Gubler said in a written statement.
    For sure, Trump critics are plentiful in a heavily Democratic state.
    But a good many visitors enjoyed seeing Trump's star.
    After all, he's now the Republican Party's front-runner for the nomination.
    Damaging Trump's terrazzo-and-brass star is despicable, his supporters say.
    "I think it's really not right and in poor taste and not appropriate," said Cynthia High, a Los Angeles resident strolling past the landmark. "I'm sure he's deserved his star as well as anybody else has."
    Illinois tourist Ellie Magana agreed.
    Many tourists enjoyed posing beside the Trump star.
    "I think it's pretty cool, I like him a lot," she said. "I like some of the things that he says but I don't agree with everything that he says and I just like him as a person, I guess you could say."
    Dressed as something of a ringmaster, Gregg Donovan calls himself a Hollywood greeter and says the Trump star steals the show among the thousands on the Walk of Fame.
    It has upstaged the recent attention -- and vandalism -- on the star belonging to Bill Cosby, where some people have asked for that star's removal after more than 40 women have publicly accused the comedian of sexual misconduct over the past 40 years. Such a removal has never occurred in the more than 50-year history of the walk.
    To get a star on the sidewalk, Trump or his representatives had to pay $30,000 for the creation and installation of the star in 2007 after the chamber approved his nomination. Anyone can make a nomination.
    "Every day, you never know what happens," Donovan said. "They all want to stop, they either love it or they hate it, this star. And like I said, it's become a major tourist attraction."
    One pitch from the Trump impersonator to passersby was beyond dispute this election year, however: "Don't forget to vote."