"Eat The Rich": Elvis Presley's Beloved Graceland Vandalized

Tuesday, Graceland, the estate turned memorial for musical pioneer Elvis Presley, was found to be vandalized with spray paint.

According to local outlet Commercial Appeal, the wall and sidewalk surrounding the Memphis landmark and tourist attraction were found to have graffiti sprayed all around them on Tuesday morning. Protest slogans like "Defund the Police", "Abolish ICE", "Black Lives Matter" and more were found in black and orange letters around the property.

Similar graffiti was found on historic concert venue The Levitt Shell. People wrote "Eat the Rich" as well as phrases like "F**k Trump" and "Defund MPD [Memphis Police Department.]"

People sharing photos of the spray painted walls noted that Elvis fans from around the globe usually write their names and tributes to the King of Rock n' Roll on the wall outside his home. Some people on Twitter called for the vandalism to stop, saying it was disrespectful to Presley's legacy.

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Despite many people angry at protesters spraying the walls with graffiti, some people commended the efforts, saying it was a good spot to draw attention to issues in the city. "Graceland is an expensive, for-profit institution that fleeces tourists while giving nothing back to the black communities it sits in the middle of. It is a symbol of everything this city gets wrong abt [sic] economic development and activists are smart to use it to promote their cause," one person tweeted.

In a statement to Commercial Appeal, Natalie Wilson, an executive director of Levitt Shell, spoke about how disappointing it was to discover the graffiti. "We wake up, excited to celebrate our city on 901 Day, and we see our beautiful historic landmark defaced with messages of pain," she said. "And that breaks our heart. We're broken-hearted and devastated by this."

901 Day is a local celebration on September 1 (9/01). It celebrates the city, whose area code is 901.

Graceland declined Newsweek's request for comment. A press contact for the Levitt Shell did not respond to Newsweek's emailed request for comment in time for publication.

Originally built by the S.E. Toof family in 1939 and named after a relative, Presley purchased the Graceland estate in 1957 when he was 22, according to the Graceland website. It remained Presley's home until 1977, when the singer died at the estate. The estate opened for tours five years after the singer's death in 1982.

Graceland
Exterior view of Elvis Presley's house Graceland, Memphis, Tennessee, United States, 2018. On Tuesday, the wall surrounding the estate was spray painted with slogans like "Defund the Police." Getty/GAB Archive/Redferns
"Eat The Rich": Elvis Presley's Beloved Graceland Vandalized | Culture