Graceland Graffiti: Priscilla Presley ‘Absolutely Horrified,’ Elvis’ Brother-In-Law Recalls ‘One of the Saddest Days’ of Life

Rock Cellar Magazine StaffCategories:Latest News

Rock Cellar Magazine

Earlier this week, a handful of iconic landmarks in the Memphis area were tagged with graffiti in the middle of the night. Vandals targeted the Levitt Shell Amphitheater, the “I Heart Memphis” mural in midtown and the wall just outside Graceland, the palatial estate that Elvis Presley once called home and remains a tourist destination for fans of the King.

The graffiti made references to the Black Lives Matter movement and “Defund the Police,” among other messages. Here’s a local news report on the graffiti from WATE 6 in Knoxville, which includes surveillance video of the vandals, should anybody be able to identify them:

The wall outside the Graceland estate is known for the messages written on it by Elvis fans from around the world who flock to the destination, handwritten tributes to “The King” that have popped up since 1982, when the museum opened to the public.

According to FOX13 Memphis, local Black Lives Matter organizers stated that their organization had no involvement in the vandalism, noting that they are starting a partnership with the Levitt Shell to “host events at the venue that promote peace and unity in Memphis.”

More, via FOX13:

“The organizer of Black Lives Matter Memphis, P. Moses, said although the organization had no involvement, the act shouldn’t be ignored.

“That’s not something that we would participate in, but we don’t want people to miss the message and the vandalism, because somebody did that and whoever did that, did it for one or two reasons,” Moses said.

Per various reports, Graceland spokesperson David Beckwith issued a “no comment” response to the graffiti, but two key members of the Elvis family didn’t hide their feelings about it.

In a news segment, Bill Stanley, Elvis’ stepbrother, commented that he was “appalled” at what had happened:

“This is totally uncalled for,” he said. “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.”

Priscilla Presley, Presley’s wife from 1967 to 1973 and the chairwoman of Elvis Presley Enterprises, reacted similarly. In a tweet posted Thursday evening, Priscilla noted that due to the diligence of local crew workers, the graffiti has now been removed from Graceland’s walls:

The Levitt Shell, also hit by vandals this week, told WMC Action News 5 that this was the sixth time this year the venue had been vandalized. Per WMC Action News 5:

“That’s why this is such a devastating situation seeing it this morning,” said Natalie Wilson, Levitt Shell executive director. “It’s getting worse.”

“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’.”

Despite this tough week, Graceland remains open to visitors — so feel free to make a trip, if you’re so inclined, and share in the historic legacy of Elvis Presley.

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