Elvis Presley’s Graceland home was defaced with graffiti including slogans such as “Black Lives Matter,” “Defund the Police” and “Abolish ICE.” The vandalism has sparked heated debate online.
The walls outside the King’s former Tennessee mansion turned-museum, where he lived for 20 years before his death in August 1977, were covered in thick black and orange lettering in the early hours of Tuesday morning.
Crews are cleaning up after someone spray painted the walls of Graceland with messages like “Defund MPD” “Arrest Breonna Taylor’s murderers” and “BLM” and more. I’ll give you a live look on @FOX13Memphis midday. pic.twitter.com/iggrafPLb8
THIS: Black Lives Matter vandalizes Elvis Graceland Mansion… ELVIS!https://t.co/uJZAtCmZ5h via @CitizenFreePrespic.twitter.com/kryrVkRClN
Normally covered with thousands of tributes to the King left by fans over the years as they lined up to enter the site, located on Elvis Presley Boulevard, the politically-charged defacement included messages like “Defund MPD,” and “F**k Trump.”
“Graceland has no comment,” Graceland spokesperson David Beckwith said.
“[This is] one of the saddest days of my life. I mean, besides the day that Elvis passed away, this right here is right up next to it,” said Bill Stanley, Elvis’ stepbrother.
Needless to say, fans of the King were irate at the perceived desecration of the site, with some facetiously suggesting that Graceland be moved out of Memphis, while others called for the vandals to face swift justice.
Black Lives Matter Vandalizes Elvis Presley’s Graceland Mansion with “Defund the Police” and “F*ck 12” Graffiti https://t.co/QTNYqTVEy0 via @gatewaypunditpic.twitter.com/jlAZbMgmJk
Graceland was desecrated with profane message supporting Black Lives Matter. Somebody needs a blue suede shoe up their backside. Disgusting. https://t.co/JpGi9QQJiA
Not everyone was outraged, however, with Democratic State Rep. Antonio Parkinson suggesting on Facebook it was the messaging, not the act, that had upset people.
“What’s the real issue here? Every visitor that has come to Graceland has written on that wall and there were no complaints. So, really, it’s WHAT was written, not the fact that it was written,” Parkinson said.
Parkinson was not alone as others chimed in saying it was the message, not the graffiti, that people were complaining about.
Why would this be any different than writing “Beth loves frank” with a heart around it? Is it the message that is the problem? Worth noting Graceland is currently in litigation for discriminating against black folks. https://t.co/r7ZqKQ7vwn
Meanwhile, Graceland wasn’t the only Elvis-linked site to be tagged with graffiti. The Levitt Shell concert venue, the site of Elvis’ first paid concert July 30, 1954 in Overton Park, was also defaced with slogans such as “EAT THE RICH,” “F**K TRUMP,” and “F**K STRICKLAND,” in reference to Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland.
The ‘I (Heart) Memphis’ mural on Cooper Avenue at York was also covered in similar, spray-painted messages.
The vandalism appeared at a time of heightened racial tensions across the US after a number of high-profile police shootings of black men in recent months, which in turn led to violence, looting, and rioting in several cities.
Graceland has been a flashpoint for racial tensions and BLM activism in the past, and the museum has faced accusations of discrimination in the past.
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