An old McDonald’s-themed mural was vandalized recently in Huntington Beach, upsetting the local community and the artist’s family, and was promptly buffed into non-existence.

The mural of Grimace, Hamburglar, Ronald McDonald and the rest of the greasy meat-peddling posse was painted by Iranian immigrant Saeed Danosian in 1992, who worked at McDonald’s while teaching private art classes on the side. He sounds like he was a sweet man. No one knew this tear-jerking backstory until a saddened reporter tracked down the artist’s widow.

The “Vegan” vandals surely didn’t know the backstory either — it their intention to personally hurt the mural artist. Obviously, an act of vandalism has financial, legal and social consequences, but those are just that — consequences — for which the vandals, if caught, will be held responsible. The intent however, is absolutely obvious. The giant blocked VEGAN signage speaks aggressively on behalf of animal rights proponents and symbolically attacks a corporation and the meat culture.

At the risk of being branded a vandal-whisperer, let’s say that the buffing was more destructive than leaving the mural “VEGAN.” Vandalized, it looked contextualized with the current fringe vegan zeitgeist — that is, the surprisingly militant members of the community who feel strongly enough about their cause to break the law, damage property and risk massive wrath. It was an unauthorized conversation forum, a direct interaction between the McDonald’s brand and the vegan rebellion.

Now, it’s just smeared with beige, awaiting restoration, looking like a damaged ad.