Graceland, the Elvis Presley estate that is Memphis’ most popular tourist draw, was vandalized overnight with “Defund the Police” and “BLM” (Black Lives Matter) graffiti, and other leftist radical slogans including “Abolish ICE”, Defund the Police” and “Fuck Trump.”
“The wall outside @VisitGraceland in #Memphis where #Elvis fans write their names and tributes to The King was vandalized overnite,” wrote WMC Action News 5’s Joyce Peterson Tuesday on Twitter. “#BlackLivesMatter #DefundMPD #AbolishIce & #BreonnaTaylor were spray painted all over the wall.”
The wall outside @VisitGraceland in #Memphis where #Elvis fans write their names and tributes to The King was vandalized overnite. #BlackLivesMatter #DefundMPD #AbolishIce & #BreonnaTaylor were spray painted all over the wall.
📸: @BriseidaHolguin pic.twitter.com/xT9gcyQz82
— Joyce Peterson (@MemphoNewsLady) September 1, 2020
Graceland, where Elvis lived for 20 years is located on a stretch of Highway 51 South named “Elvis Presley Boulevard” and opened to the public in 1982. The estate has been owned by Elvis’ daughter Lisa Marie Presley, since the rock legend’s death in 1977 and attracts over half a million visitors annually.
Vandals also hit the Levitt Shell concert venue in Overton Park, spray-painting obscenities, including “BLM”, ‘F*** TRUMP” and ‘F*** STRICKLAND,’ a reference to Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland, in addition to ‘EAT THE RICH’ and other activist slogans, according to a report by The Commercial Appeal.
The open-air amphitheater was where Elvis gave his first paid concert on July 30, 1954. The venue has suffered financially from the coronavirus pandemic, and faces an $800,000 budget shortfall.
The cost of repainting the Levitt Shell could be around $150,000, Memphis police said.
The spray-painted slogans at Graceland covered up hundreds of handwritten messages already on the wall which include words of love and devotion to Elvis, written in ink, felt-tip marker and paint by fans, often while standing in line to visit the Elvis grave during the annual ‘Candlelight Vigil,’” according to the report.
Democratic State Rep. Antonio Parkinson spoke out in favor of the graffiti, writing:
“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.”
The report added that Graceland spokesperson David Beckwith said that “Graceland has no comment” when asked about the vandalism found on Presley’s estate on Tuesday morning.