Police in Asheville, North Carolina, are investigating after a mural honoring legendary singer Tina Turner was defaced with a “swastika-type symbol.”
According to a police report obtained by CNN, the vandalism appeared on Monday, Dec. 23, and was reported to authorities the next day. The mural featuring Turner’s likeness graces the pull-down storefront of the popular Static Age Records store, where it was marred with an incorrectly drawn Nazi symbol.
Business owner Jesse McSwain said he was out of town when he got the call about the offensive graffiti. He doesn’t believe it was a random act, however, telling local station WLOS 13 the store may have been targeted because it’s a place that promotes diversity and inclusion.
“There’s occasional graffiti or whatever,” McSwain explained, “but never, like, racist symbols. It was a person of color, the mural that got tagged with a big racist symbol, so that’s notable.”
He added that a lot of locals view the record store “as more of a community space than a retail shop.”
Store employee Arieh Samson echoed this sentiment, saying he felt a “mix of deep disappointment and anger” over the recent vandalism.
“It’s a community space that hosts events multiple times a week,” Samson said. “It’s truly a safe and inclusive space for many aspects of the community.”
According to The Associated Press, the downtown record store uses its pull-down storefront to honor music icons, including Screamin’ Jay Hawkins and Lou Reed. The mural of Turner was based on her character in the 1985 film “Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome.”
The “What’s Love Got to Do With It” singer celebrated her 80th birthday this past November and said she’s looking and feeling great.
“I’m happy to be an 80-year-old woman,” Turner, whose real name is Anna Mae Bullock, said in a special video message to fans. “I feel good. I’ve gone through some very serious sickness that I’m overcoming. It’s like having a second chance at life.”
The ill-drawn swastika scrawled over the singer’s face is now covered with black paint and McSwain has since launched a GoFundMe campaign to help pay for a new mural. In just three days, the page exceeded its original $800 goal and has raised more than $2,000 for the cause.
McSwain said he’s grateful for the outpouring of support and plans to donate the extra money to the Southern Poverty Law Center. He said he’ll also use the funds to purchase a few security cameras for the business.
Asheville police officials said the incident remains under investigation.
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