Messages of Black Lives Matter and “Defund the Police” were spray painted on several tourist attractions in Tennessee on Monday night, including Graceland, the Elvis Presley estate, authorities said.
The graffiti phrases were found Tuesday morning outside Graceland, the Levitt Shell Amphitheater in Overton Park and the “I Heart Memphis” mural in midtown Memphis, news outlets reported.
Besides “Defund the Police,” expletive-laced messages about President Donald Trump, Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland and demands to arrest the Louisville police officers who killed Breonna Taylor were also scrawled on the walls.
Memphis police said they were investigating the incident.
Graceland spokesperson David Beckwith said the estate had no comment on the graffiti but Bill Stanley, Elvis’ stepbrother, told WMC-TV he was appalled by the messages.
“This is totally uncalled for,” said Stanley.
“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.”
Graceland visitors have been writing on the wall outside the estate since Presley’s death in 1977.
Levitt Shell executive director Natalie Wilson said this is the sixth act of vandalism at the Shell this year.
“Defacing our stage is not appropriate; however, we acknowledge their pain and we want to say to our community ‘it’s time the conversations are deeper, they’re more productive and that change happens with good communication,’” said Wilson.
Graceland officials did not immediately return The Tennessee Star’s request for comment Wednesday. They also did not mention the graffiti on the press release page on the estate’s official website. They also said nothing on Graceland’s official Facebook and Twitter pages.
Entertainer Travis Tritt tweeted that the vandalism saddened him.
Anyone who personally knew Elvis will tell you that he absolutely loved the black community and the black community loved him. It breaks my heart to see his memory tarnished this way. https://t.co/0qQxTa20EH
— Travis Tritt (@Travistritt) September 2, 2020
“Anyone who personally knew Elvis will tell you that he absolutely loved the black community and the black community loved him,” Tritt wrote.
“It breaks my heart to see his memory tarnished this way.”
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, also on Twitter, called on law enforcement to act.
They’ve done it now! These anarchist goons have defaced Graceland! Please @realDonaldTrump -federalize the Natl Guard and round up these criminals! Where I come from you don’t mess with Elvis! Elvis Presley's mansion vandalised – Mirror Online https://t.co/wMMgiAGxob
— Gov. Mike Huckabee (@GovMikeHuckabee) September 2, 2020
“They’ve done it now! These anarchist goons have defaced Graceland! Please @RealDonaldTrump federalize the Natl Guard and round up these criminals! Where I come from you don’t mess with Elvis!”
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This story was written by The Associated Press. Tennessee Star investigative journalist Chris Butler contributed to this report. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Graceland Destruction” by wemcal.