Kathy Griffin’s controversial photo shoot with photographer Tyler Shields, where she is seen holding a bloodied effigy of President Donald Trump’s head, has sparked outrage across the U.S. The photo was published on May 30, 2017, and ever since Griffin, 56, has been facing backlash and was fired from her duties at CNN the next day. CNN terminated Kathy Griffin from her co-hosting responsibilities on CNN’s annual New Year’s Eve’s special program, which she has been co-hosting with journalist Anderson Cooper since 2007.
Cooper was quick to condemn Griffin’s gory photo and took to his Twitter account to share his opinion on the issue. Many other journalists condemned the shocking photo shoot. Few comedians also criticized Kathy Griffin’s Trump photo shoot.
“For the record, I am appalled by the photo shoot Kathy Griffin took part in. It is clearly disgusting and completely inappropriate.” Anderson Cooper said.
Griffin had tried to calm the anger against her through a public apology on her Twitter and Instagram accounts.
“I’m a comic… I cross the line. I move the line, then I cross it. I went way too far. The image is too disturbing. I understand how it offends people. It wasn’t funny; I get it… Taking down the image, gonna ask the photographer to take down the image, and I beg for your forgiveness. I went too far. I made a mistake, and I was wrong.”
President Trump was quick to react after Griffin posted the anti-Trump photo on social media.
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
Threats knowingly and willfully made against the president or vice president are classified as class E felonies under federal law. That includes any “threat to take the life of, to kidnap, or to inflict bodily harm” upon those officials.
The image also came under fire from parties on both sides of the political spectrum and was criticized by liberals and conservatives alike. Griffin’s photo shoot controversy also cost her an advertising deal with Squatty Potty and at least five of her shows were canceled. In Griffin’s case, the gory photograph did not directly threaten the president, and it didn’t urge others to harm him.
It must be noted here that burning effigies of presidents and others in authority has been an old way of expressing anger and protest across the world. Many effigies of President Obama were also burnt in the U.S. and around the world during his term.
Apparently, Kathy Griffin knew the provocative photo would stir up outrage and joked to photographer Tyler Shields, saying that the photo shoot may lead her to federal prison.
“We have to move to Mexico today, but we’re going to go to prison — federal prison…We’re not surviving this, okay?”
Few celebrities, however, came forward and publicly defended the comedian. Among them, most prominent were Al Franken, Jim Carrey, Jamie Foxx, Larry King, Mike Lawrence, Rosie O’Donnell, and Scott Adams.
At the press conference on June 2, 2017, Kathy Griffin broke down into tears as she accused Donald Trump and his family of “trying to ruin” her life.
“I don’t think I will have a career after this.”
“…A sitting president of the U.S. is personally trying to ruin my life forever,” Griffin said at the conference and added that she has been receiving death threats since the outage broke out over her controversial photo.
While Kathy Griffin’s photo shoot found condemnation from all sides and got much media attention, some artists and journalists in the U.S. media maintain the death threats were unnecessary.
[Featured Image by Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP Images and Rich Fury/Invision/AP Images]