Taylor Swift or 'Smith' mural defaced in Melbourne

A defaced mural of Taylor Swift Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The defaced mural of Taylor Swift in Melbourne's Hosier Lane

A mural in Melbourne apparently proclaiming "the death" of Taylor Swift has been painted over.

The popstar's likeness was painted in a famous graffiti-covered laneway alongside the name "Taylor Smith".

It appeared earlier this week amid the Bad Blood singer's escalating feud with Kanye West and Kim Kardashian.

The mock memorial now has a cartoon face scrawled over it and the words "In loving memory of Harambe", the gorilla shot dead by zookeepers in the US.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Dozens of people admiring the latest addition to famed graffiti-covered laneway

Swift's row with Kardashian - largely over whether she gave the latter's husband permission to reference her in a song - is seen by many as having hurt her career by damaging her "nice girl" image.

The artist of the original work, Lushsux, had originally posted a photo of the mural on Instagram with a caption: "The recent passing of @taylorswift is heart wrenching. Come and leave some flowers and light some candles at her memorial in Hosier Lane in honour of her memory."

The "Smith" was an intentional typo designed to ward off "the pending defamation lawsuit".

He later said "Taylor Smith's" lawyers had contacted him threatening legal action if the mural was not removed.

Then on Wednesday, it was defaced, though it was not clear who did it.

Lushsux does not have plans to restore the artwork to its former glory.

"Hosier Lane is notorious for this kind of thing," he told the Herald Sun newspaper. "Got to just laugh about that I guess."

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Taylor Swift is feuding with Kim Kardashian and Kanye West over a leaked phone conversation

Earlier this year, Lushsux attracted headlines for installing an enormous nude portrait of Kim Kardashian that was then partially painted over by council workers.

"The workers who did it got a laugh out of it by painting a bra on the work or the shape of panties," he told the BBC. "I think it just added to it in a fun way. Bless them."

Taylor Swift is currently on holiday in Australia with British actor Tom Hiddleston. The couple have been branded Hiddleswift by fans.

Lushsux said that he was not trying to make a statement about Swift or her music but just having fun.

"I thought that song Born This Way was by her," he said. "Turns out I was wrong, so maybe that's an indication on how deep my knowledge of her life and music is."

More on this story