Kathy Griffin has been let go by CNN in the aftermath of a photoshoot in which Griffin held up a bloody head that looked like Donald Trump.
The decapitated Donald Trump was undertaken using the guise of political protest. But remember, this is the same woman who wrote a book about her brushes with Hollywood’s A-list. In other words, almost everything Griffin does is motivated by one thing beyond all others: Kathy Griffin likes it when people talk about Kathy Griffin.
Kathy Griffin Beheads Donald Trump in Shocking Photo Shoot (PHOTO) https://t.co/UM9GHRrFf5— TMZ (@TMZ) May 30, 2017
And boy are people talking about Kathy Griffin. Immediately after the photos surfaced online Tuesday, critics from both sides of aisle slammed the comedian for her poor taste. In probably the first time they’ve agreed on anything, Chelsea Clinton and Donald Trump Jr. both blasted the photo.
Disgusting but not surprising. This is the left today. They consider this acceptable. Imagine a conservative did this to Obama as POTUS? https://t.co/QdghcbIjS7— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) May 30, 2017
This is vile and wrong. It is never funny to joke about killing a president. https://t.co/zIiuKoMyFw— Chelsea Clinton (@ChelseaClinton) May 30, 2017
An initially defiant Griffin began her defense by tweeting that she doesn’t “condone any violence,” and that she was “merely mocking the Mocker in chief.” But as the chorus of boos reached a fever pitch, Griffin was forced to issue a public apology.
“I’m a comic. I cross the line. I move the line, then I cross it,” she said via video. “I went way too far. The image is too disturbing. I understand how it offends people. It wasn’t funny. I get it.“
Griffin added that she’s asked celebrity photographer (and possible bunko artist Tyler Shields to remove the photo, as if that would somehow wipe it from existence. Shields, for the uninitiated, is perhaps best known for his provocative photographs that often feature celebrities behaving badly.
In an accompanying behind-the-scenes video from the shoot, Shields can be heard telling Griffin they might have to “move to Mexico” after the photos hit the web.
“We’re going to go to prison—federal prison…We’re not surviving this, okay?” he says.
Shields might be right. While it didn’t mention Griffin or Shields by name, the Secret Service tweeted that they take all threats seriously. If Donald Trump’s biggest threat is literally Kathy Griffin, we feel strongly that he’ll be ok.
Griffin’s career, however, temporarily will not be fine.
On Tuesday, Squatty Potty decided to suspend its ad campaign with Griffin.
“We were shocked and disappointed to learn about the image Ms. Griffin shared today.” Squatty Potty CEO Bobby Edwards said in a statement. “It was deeply inappropriate and runs contrary to the core values our company stands for.”
CNN, another one of Griffin’s employers, also condemned the images before cutting ties with Griffin altogether.
“We found what she did disgusting and offensive,” a CNN spokesperson said in a statement. “We are pleased to see she has apologized and asked that the photos be taken down. We are evaluating our New Year’s Eve coverage and have made no decisions at this point.” Even Anderson Cooper, Griffin’s now former New Years Eve Live co-host, tweeted his disapproval.
For the record, I am appalled by the photo shoot Kathy Griffin took part in. It is clearly disgusting and completely inappropriate.— Anderson Cooper (@andersoncooper) May 31, 2017
The backlash continued well into Wednesday, and was capped off by the inevitable tweet from Trump himself.
Kathy Griffin should be ashamed of herself. My children, especially my 11 year old son, Barron, are having a hard time with this. Sick!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 31, 2017
Melania Trump also chimed in, calling the images “very disturbing,” and added that “when you consider some of the atrocities happening in the world today, a photo opportunity like this is simply wrong and makes you wonder about the mental health of the person who did it.”
Others were quick to point out the similarities between Griffin’s images, and the many times republicans proliferated lynched Obama effigies. Ironically, some Republicans chose to ignore that particular part of history. “Imagine a conservative did this to Obama as POTUS?” Trump Jr. tweeted.
It wasn’t right when peoplel hung lynched Obama effigies, just as what Kathy Griffin did isn’t right now.— Debra Messing (@DebraMessing) May 30, 2017
Eh? “Imagine?” You got Google? https://t.co/GLqOv7A8Ky— Jeffrey Wright (@jfreewright) May 31, 2017
When a liberal takes anti-Trump rhetoric a step too far, as Griffin did here, it’s conservative impulse to appropriate Michelle Obama’s “when they go low, we go high” mantra for their own benefit. But where was that impulse when Greg Gianforte bodyslammed a journalist? Or when Trump divulges classified information to Russian spies? Or when…? Well, you get the idea.
There’s no doubt that Griffin crossed a line, but in this climate of no-holds-barred politics, the question of where that line is becomes blurrier by the hour. Not only that, but it’s hilarious to see all of conservative media get on their high horse about literally Kathy Griffin. Distasteful? Sure, but not as distasteful as depriving millions of Americans of healthcare.