Celebrities, they’re just like us, if by “us” you mean people who cluelessly carve their names into rocks, trees, and other natural elements. Vanessa Hudgens, the star of High School Musical, which parents with kids of a certain age know all too well, is being investigated by the U.S. Forest Service for misdemeanor vandalism after she posted a photo to Instagram showing the names of her boyfriend and her inside a heart and scratched into a rock, presumably in Sedona.
Although it could have been another Austin and Vanessa, the photo was labeled #sedonadreams and was accompanied by other shots showing Hudgens and boyfriend Austin Butler in the Arizona town.
Damaging a natural feature in national forests is punishable by up to six months in jail and a maximum $5,000 fine. Although carving or writing your name into things has a long, long history (see: Kilroy, the Wetherills, and Basque sheepherders), in recent years it has been thrust into the public eye by posts to social media. Last year, French artist Andre Saraiva defaced a boulder in Joshua Tree National Park, and in 2014 a woman named Casey Nockett became notorious for painting drawings on rocks in national parks. Both were tripped up by posting their work to social media, where they were met with public outcry and the interest of authorities.
In Hudgens’ case, the venom found in the comments of her remaining Sedona pictures seems out of proportion with the (alleged) offense, no matter how stupid it might have been. But that’s people and the internet for you.