Emoji Revenge: A California Spite House for the Digital Age

When a California woman’s neighbors reported her for illegally turning her home into an AirBnb, she got back at them in a thoroughly modern way: with emojis.

In an incident that’s referred to in local paper Easy Reader News as “The Emoji House War,” homeowner Kathryn Kidd shocked her neighbors in Manhattan Beach with a dramatic new paint job. The two-level duplex is now a vivid pink and prominently adorned with two enormous emojis, one with googly eyes and its tongue sticking out and the other with a zipper across its mouth.

Her neighbors say it’s a less-than-subtle message following a disagreement over how the property is being used. Kidd lives a few blocks away and purchased the duplex as a rental a year ago, using it for short-term rentals, which is illegal in Manhattan Beach. Her neighbors reported her, and she was fined $4,000.

Kidd maintains that the intention wasn’t to spite her neighbors, but rather to add some cheer to the neighborhood.

“The artist is kind of a friend of mine,” she told Easy Reader. “Instead of everybody being so gloomy, always so depressed, always in other people’s business, I just wanted to send a message to be happy, be colorful, be positive and enjoy.”

But the artist, a local known as Z the Art, says Kidd didn’t tell her anything about the drama before hiring him, and is shocked to find himself at the center of the dispute.

The city of Manhattan Beach has no ability to regulate murals on private property, so the paint job is here to stay, at least for now.

Spite houses are a long, petty tradition, often used to get back at neighbors, family members and former spouses for perceived affronts. They almost always succeed in ruining other people’s views. Some are set up on incredibly narrow plots of land, built mere inches from neighbors or adorned in irritating paint jobs, like this one. Some even have windows shaped like fists with raised middle fingers.

Check out 22 more examples:

Spite Houses: 12 Structures Built Just to Annoy People
No Respite: 10 More Houses Built Out of Spite

Top image via Easy Reader News