Star Wars actor Mark Hamill has been fighting a battle against fake autographs, and his efforts on social media caught the attention of California Assemblywoman Ling Ling Chang. Now the two are teaming up to win the war.
Chang, with the support of Hamill, introduced a bill, AB 1570, that seeks to make certificates of authenticity a requirement for signed memorabilia sold in California.
“The public is being swindled on a daily basis and the numbers are huge,” Hamill told the Los Angeles Times in an interview. “I just can’t keep quiet when I see people I love being hurt.” He later remarked that fans are “stalked by these dealers that have shopping carts with 50 posters and stacks of photographs.”
The actor reached out to Star Wars fans on Twitter last month to warn them against buying memorabilia bearing forged autographs. He tweeted at the time, “I’m so sorry there’s so many fans spending their hard-earned money for fradulent signatures.”
After hearing of Hamill’s actions, Chang said, “I got on the phone with him and it was very touching to see how passionate he was. What he said to me is that his fans are like family and that he did not want to see kids being victimized as he’s seen in the past. It’s such an honor to have him on board with us.”
In a video message to Los Angeles Times reporter Christine Mai-Duc, Chang continued, “Sports memorabilia already has protections which require a certificate of authenticity. That does not cover other memorabilia.”
Hamill reprised Luke Skywalker for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which means this issue likely won’t go away any time soon, especially as Rian Johnson starts work on Episode VIII.