Elvis Presley's Graceland estate in Memphis was the subject of vandalism this week when it was tagged with multiple graffiti messages that included "BLM," "Abolish ICE," "#BreonnaTaylor" and "Defund the police." The graffiti covered a rock wall outside the property on Elvis Presley Boulevard and other Memphis locations including Levitt Shell Amphitheater in Overton Park and the "I Heart Memphis" mural in midtown Memphis were also tagged.
"We were just driving by this morning and we looked over," Presley fan Alice Self told WMC Action News 5 of the graffiti at Graceland, which was discovered Tuesday morning. "We just couldn’t believe it. We were just stunned by it." Presley's stepbrother Bill Stanley said the graffiti was "totally uncalled for." "One of the saddest days of my life," he said. "I mean, besides the day that Elvis passed away, this right here is right up next to it."
A spokesperson for Graceland said they had no comment on the graffiti. A spokesperson for the Levitt Shell said this is the sixth time this year it has been vandalized. "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 Natalie Wilson, Levitt Shell executive director.
Tennessee Rep. Antonio Parkinson, (D-Memphis) wrote on Facebook that he believes people are taking issue with the content of the messages rather than the fact that there were messages at all. "What’s the real issue here?" he wrote. "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 graffiti at Graceland was power washed by a worker on Tuesday morning.
Last month, the estate held its annual Elvis Week, which takes place in the days leading up to the anniversary of Presley's death. This year, the celebrations were adjusted due to the coronavirus pandemic, but fans still made their way to the star's former home to pay their respects. On Monday, it was announced that Graceland will host the 2020 Miss USA and Miss Teen USA competitions, which are scheduled to take place in November and will have limited attendee access due to the pandemic.