Updated May 31, 11:45 a.m. PT: Reports are now breaking all over the internet that Kathy Griffin was fired from CNN in relation to the graphic and gory photo of her holding the fake, bloody decapitated head of President Trump. Griffin posted the photo late Tuesday evening using Trump’s own quotes to further impress the graphic nature of the photo onto viewers.
While Griffin released an apology through her Instagram for the photo, the backlash from the public and from President Trump himself most likely led to CNN terminating their relationship with the comedian. This means that she will no longer take part in the New Year’s Eve coverage the channel conducts, which TMZ reports she has been doing since 2007.
Griffin’s friend and prominent CNN host Anderson Cooper also condemned her photo, tweeting out, “For the record, I am appalled by the photo shoot Kathy Griffin took part in. It is clearly disgusting and completely inappropriate.”
Kathy Griffin has crossed a lot of lines in her career as a self-professed D-list comedian, but this time she may finally have gone too far. A shocking photo published by TMZ on Tuesday morning shows Griffin holding the (fake) decapitated head of Donald Trump.
Accompanying the photo, Griffin included a title of sorts, saying, “I caption this ‘there was blood coming out of his eyes, blood coming out of his … wherever,'” a clear nod to a jab Trump took at Megyn Kelly during the Republican presidential debates.
But Griffin’s brand of off-color humor isn’t flying this time, and she is being skewered by seemingly everyone. Both sides of the political spectrum are speaking out against the gory and senseless photo shoot, reminding the controversial comedian that glorifying violence is never funny.
.@kathygriffin we faced that kind of death in Afghanistan daily & to see you make light of it at home, w/ our President is beyond the pale.
— Sean Parnell (@SeanParnellUSA) May 30, 2017
I think Trump is a DISASTER as both a President and a human being.
I also think that Kathy Griffin photo is horrible and wrong.
— Mikel Jollett (@Mikel_Jollett) May 30, 2017
This Kathy Griffin thing is so upsetting and disgusting. Jesus–what is wrong with people today? Have we lost all our humanity?
— Soledad O'Brien (@soledadobrien) May 30, 2017
Our politics have become too base, too low, & too vulgar, but Kathy Griffin's post descends into an even more repugnant & vile territory.
— Mitt Romney (@MittRomney) May 30, 2017
no thought for families who have lost people in this barbaric way. absolutely disgusting and no excuse.
— Nicole (@UnitedSheStands) May 30, 2017
Donald Trump Jr. also weighed in on the disturbing photo, saying he was disgusted but not surprised.
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
As Debra Messing (and numerous others) pointed out, though, this behavior isn’t in fact endemic to the left or liberals — with the bottom line being that it is always unacceptable.
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
In response to the massive backlash to the photo shoot, Griffin at first remained unfazed, as did photographer Tyler Shields. The two tweeted practically playfully over the fact that the photo had gone viral and was protected under artistic expression.
Griffin followed up with a series of now-deleted tweets, stating, “OBVIOUSLY, I do not condone ANY violence by my fans or others to anyone ever!” and, subsequently, “I’m merely mocking the Mocker in Chief.”
Why did you delete this? pic.twitter.com/gsWetxmtP4
— Marq Martí (@MarqMarti) May 30, 2017
This, dear readers, is what you call a non-apology. Upon getting heat for the photo shoot, Griffin’s initial response was to defend her actions and offer an excuse for her behavior. Eventually, Griffin replaced her unapologetic tweets with an actual apology.
In a short video posted on her Twitter page, Griffin says, “Hey everybody, it’s me, Kathy Griffin. I sincerely apologize. I am just now seeing the reaction to these images. I’m a comic. I crossed 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. I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my career. I will continue. I ask your forgiveness. Taking down the image. I am going to 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.”
Given that Griffin’s apology seems rushed and a bit rehearsed, it remains to be seen whether or not the public will accept it at face value or find it to be lacking sincerity.
Griffin often relies on shock value to grab headlines, but the genuine hope here is that she truly understands how irresponsible and quite frankly dangerous it is to politicize and profit from violent images like the one she created with Shields.