Elvis Presley’s wife Priscilla has said that her late ex-husband was “not prejudiced in any way”.
During an appearance on Piers Morgan Uncensored on Tuesday (19 July) night, the 77-year-old businesswoman told host Piers Morgan that her husband “was not a racist”.
“He’s never been a racist. Elvis had friends, Black friends, friends from all over. He loved their music,” she said. “He loved their style. He loved being around, you know, black musicians.
“I mean, Fats Domino, when he was in Vegas, he was in the lounge playing and he would always, we would always, go and hang out with him.
“Sammy Davis Jr, the same thing, he would always come into the dressing room. He loved, loved being around blacks and being around anyone actually.”
She concluded by saying: “He was just not prejudiced in any way. And not racist in any way.”
In 2021, Quincy Jones said that he would not work with Presley, alleging that the late singer “was a racist”.
The musician – best known for producing Michael Jackson’s albums Thriller, Off the Wall, and Bad – made the comments during an interview with The Hollywood Reporter.
The outlet asked Jones about Presley after the producer compared Jackson to the King of Rock and Roll.
Asked if he would ever work with Presley, Jones replied: “No, I wouldn’t work with him.”
Pressed for reasons behind the statement, the 88-year-old said “he was a racist motherf***** ”.
“I was writing for [orchestra leader] Tommy Dorsey, oh God, back then in the Fifties. And Elvis came in, and Tommy said: “I don’t want to play with him,’” recalled Jones. “He was a racist mother****. I’m going to shut up now.”
He added: “But every time I saw Elvis, he was being coached by Otis Blackwell, telling him how to sing.”
The Hollywood Reporter, however, notes that Blackwell told David Letterman on his show in 1987 that he and Presley had never met.
The Independent contacted a representative of Presley’s estate for comment at the time, who also recalled Blackwell’s 1987 interview. “This speaks to the credibility of the comments,” said Presley’s estate.
A film titled Elvis based on Presley’s life was released in theatres last month. It stars Austin Butler as the rock ‘n’ roll singer, and Tom Hanks as his manager, Colonel Tom Parker.
You can read The Independent’s review of the movie here.