Comedian Kathy Griffin apologizes amid backlash over bloody Trump beheading photo
The photos published Tuesday were taken by Tyler Shields, a photographer known for provocative work. “Tyler and I are not afraid to do images that make noise,” Griffin said in a behind-the-scenes video released along with the photo, adding: “We have to move to Mexico today, because we're going to go to prison.”
By Tuesday night, Griffin had removed the images from her Twitter account and released a video apology.
“I sincerely apologize,” she said. “I am just now seeing the reaction of these images. I'm a comic, I crossed the line.”
By then, the Secret Service had already tweeted that it was investigating the matter – as it does for all threats to the government officials it protects.
The president took to Twitter to respond to the controversy, telling Griffin she "should be ashamed of herself," adding that his 11-year-old son Barron was particularly affected by the stunt.
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
Kathy Griffin continued to trend worldwide on Twitter late into the evening, long after the photos had spread over the internet like wildfire. Much of the commentary was harshly critical of Griffin for a range of reasons, including that it could encourage assassination.
I think Trump is a DISASTER as both a President and a human being.— Mikel Jollett (@Mikel_Jollett) May 30, 2017
I also think that Kathy Griffin photo is horrible and wrong.
Leftists, tell me again about Trump's violent language ushering in an era of violence https://t.co/AZwANHL4Ti— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) May 30, 2017
Kathy Griffin holds mock-up of Trump's decapitated head & liberals call it "art." If any conservative did this to Obama they'd be arrested.— Makada 🇺🇸 (@_Makada_) May 30, 2017
Donald Trump Jr. tweeted his distaste at Griffin's photo, as did Chelsea Clinton, daughter of former President Bill Clinton and wife Hillary.
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
CNN responded to the backlash later Wednesday by revealing that the network was dropping the comedian as a co-host from its New Year's Eve program.
CNN has terminated our agreement with Kathy Griffin to appear on our New Year's Eve program.— CNN Communications (@CNNPR) May 31, 2017
Griffin has co-hosted CNN's annual New Year's Eve program alongside Anderson Cooper since 2007. Cooper earlier condemned the tweet as “disgusting” and “inappropriate.”
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
Before her apology, Griffin tweeted: “OBVIOUSLY, I do not condone ANY violence by my fans or others to anyone, ever! I'm merely mocking the Mocker in Chief.”
The 56-year-old Griffin has been vocal in her opposition of Trump since he took office, labelling him an “idiot” and “embarrassing,” but she also tweeted against him as far back as 2011, following the White House Correspondents Dinner that some credit with firming up Trump’s resolve to run for president.
Then-President Barack Obama had joked about Trump at the annual event, and weeks later Trump maintained his belief that he could win a presidential primary and general election, which Griffin ridiculed.
Griffin isn't the first celebrity to depict violence against Trump. In March, Snoop Dogg released a music video which showed the rapper shooting a clown that was dressed as the president.
The video prompted a response from Trump who tweeted: “Can you imagine what the outcry would be if @SnoopDogg, failing career and all, had aimed and fired the gun at President Obama? Jail time!”