Actress and comedienne Kathy Griffin found herself in some hot water on Tuesday after photographs of her holding a bloody and seemingly beheaded Trump mask went viral. The photos were part of a shoot with controversial photographer Tyler Shields, who is known for his controversial art. A quick look at the Tyler Shields portfolio gives fans and critics alike a look into a dark world full of sexual intrigue, broken race relations (an image of a nude African American with a KKK member held on a noose), and twisted takes on American history’s darkest days, such as Monroe’s death and the assassinations of Kennedy and Dr. King.
Fast forward to his work with Kathy Griffin. As Fox Nation reports, the viral photograph in question features a blank-faced Griffin holding a bloody Donald Trump mask next to her own head — right by that famous head of hair. The photograph brings to mind a world in which Trump found himself beheaded, perhaps by Kathy Griffin herself.
The pic of Kathy Griffin is reportedly part of a much larger shoot with Shields, but TMZ reportedly got its hands on the single image before the rest of the photographs were released. In addition to being the first source to publish the shocking image, the celebrity gossip site reported that during the shoot, Kathy Griffin joked that both she and Tyler would have to move to Mexico after the pics are released for fear of having to do prison time.
— TMZ (@TMZ) May 30, 2017
The final photograph of Kathy Griffin holding the bloody Trump mask is eerily reminiscent of an ISIS beheading photo, and many (both liberal and conservative) immediately took to social media to call out Griffin and claim that she’d gone way too far with her “art.”
— ConservaMomUSA???????????? (@ConservaMomUSA) May 30, 2017
Kathy griffin beheading a fake trump head gets more coverage than actual beheadings of Christians by Isis.
— CJG (@ChrisJGeary) May 31, 2017
If she's not arrested immediately4threatening our @potus PRESIDENT then something's more wrong w/these ppl than we realized.
— Jules (@OmPeaceMom) May 30, 2017
Is anybody on the left going to mention that Kathy Griffin held up a decapitated Trump head when there's been 3 ISIS attacks in 12 days?
— Mike (@mike4193496) May 31, 2017
Some Twitter users were quick to call for Griffin’s arrest, similar to what played out after Snoop Dogg released a music video in which he “shot” a Trump-like character. Others say that her participation in the questionable photo shoot is a threat to Donald Trump, with others saying that (at the very least) it’s tantamount to an incitement of violence.
Whatever Griffin’s original intent with the photograph was, or how funny she reportedly thought the public response to seeing the pic of her holding a bloody, decapitated Trump mask would be, she only stuck to her guns for a few short hours after TMZ published the controversial pic.
As Fox News reports, by Tuesday evening Kathy Griffin was all apologies when she took to Twitter to try to undo some of the damage the viral photo had already done. According to a video tweet, Griffin is “sorry,” “wrong,” and “went too far.”
I am sorry. I went too far. I was wrong. pic.twitter.com/LBKvqf9xFB
— Kathy Griffin (@kathygriffin) May 30, 2017
In her apology, Griffin said that, as a comedian, it’s her job to move the line, cross the line, and move it again. However, she acknowledged that this time she went “way too far,” and understands why people were offended by the shocking image.
“I understand how it offends people. I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my career.”
Kathy Griffin also said that she would be taking the bloody Trump mask photo down, and that she would ask Tyler Shields to do the same. As of late Tuesday evening, however, the photographer is still featuring the bloody Trump mask photo on his Twitter feed.
Friend text me this "I hear Tijuana is beautiful this time of year."https://t.co/JsP1paLxjB
— Tyler Shields (@tylershields) May 30, 2017
According to Shields, Kathy Griffin wanted to create and portray a “bold message” with the violent, gory Trump mask photo shoot.
“Kathy and I are friends and we worked together before, so when we started doing this shoot, she said, ‘I’d love to do something political. I’d love to make a statement. We kind of figured out what would be the best image to make out of that.”
Can you go to jail for making an artistic statement??? Asking for a friend… @kathygriffin
— Tyler Shields (@tylershields) May 27, 2017
He also admitted that he knew well ahead of time that the image of Kathy holding a seemingly decapitated and bloody Trump head was going to make people uncomfortable.
“That’s what art is meant to do.”
Lynching on Display on its first release 77 by 56 inches. pic.twitter.com/K6srLmRoha
— Tyler Shields (@tylershields) February 9, 2017
Shields went on to note that nobody was actually hurt in the creation of the image, and that neither himself nor Griffin wanted to see anybody hurt or dead.
Even so, the bloody Trump mask photo art infuriated a lot of people, including Chelsea Clinton, daughter of bitter Trump rival Hillary Clinton. Chelsea took to Twitter to call the image “vile and wrong.”
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
What do you think about Tyler Shields’ photo art? Do you think that it’s within the realm of what is socially acceptable for Kathy Griffin to portray herself holding a bloody Trump mask — even if it’s for artistic shock value? Let us know in the comments section below.
[Featured Image by Rich Fury/Invision/AP Images]