Elvis Presley‘s Graceland mansion in Memphis, Tenn., was tagged with messages supporting Black Lives Matter and defunding the police on Tuesday night (Sept. 1). The graffiti on the iconic landmark was discovered Tuesday morning when employees at the late rock legend’s former home arrived at work to see the messages scrawled across a stone wall outside the mansion.
The tags along Elvis Presley Boulevard also featured references to Breonna Taylor and the phrases “No Justice, No Peace,” “Defund MPD” and “F–k Trump,” with similar messages scrawled across the Depression-era Levitt Shell in nearby Overton Park where Presley performed his first paid concert in July 1954, according to the Daily Memphian. The spray-painted words covered over the many thousands of handwritten tributes on the wall that have been left by Elvis fans since the museum opened to the public in 1982.
The paper reported that officials at Levitt Shell have filed a police report, noting that because of the pandemic, the venue run by a nonprofit organization has been shuttered and is looking at a $700,000 shortfall this year. Among the messages reportedly painted on the Levitt Shell were: “BLM,” “Defund MPD,” “End Homelessness,” “Give Our City Back,” ” Eat the Rich” and obscene references to Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland and President Donald Trump.
Tennessee Rep. London Lamar tweeted a theory about the source of the graffiti, suggesting that it was not done by Black Lives Matter activists, but by others looking to discredit the movement. “I bet my money that those tagging property in Memphis with BLM and Defund Police are individuals trying to make this movement look bad!” she tweeted. “Don’t believe that it’s the movement! It’s not! WE ALL KNOW WHO’S OUT TO MAKE US LOOK BAD!”
A spokesperson for Graceland had not returned a request for comment at press time.
Check out images of the graffiti and Lamar’s tweet below.