President Trump has blasted Kathy Griffin, asserting via Twitter that the comedian “should be ashamed of herself” for holding a prop of his bloodied severed head during a photo shoot. Griffin apologized on Tuesday for the photo, which was widely distributed online.
The photo went viral after popping up Tuesday afternoon on TMZ. The backlash from conservatives and liberals alike was fast and furious. By early evening, Griffin had issued a video apology via social media.
“I sincerely apologize. I’m just now seeing the reaction of these images. I’m a comic, I cross the line. I move the line, then I cross it. I went way too far,” she said. “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.”
Griffin has been a vocal critic of Trump since the start of his presidential campaign. The photo stemmed from Griffin’s recent shoot with photographer Tyler Shields, known for his bizarre and provocative imagery. Initially, Griffin boasted in a behind-the-scenes video from the shoot that “Tyler and I are not afraid to do images that make noise.”
But Griffin changed her tune after the overwhelmingly negative response. The disturbing Trump head image comes as the nation is grappling with a rising tide of racial and ethnic tensions and shocking hate crimes.
Last week, two men died from stab wounds and another was injured in Portland, Ore., while trying to defend two teenage girls, one of whom was wearing a hijab, from a man shouting anti-Muslim invective on a commuter train. The alleged killer, Jeremy Christian, was arraigned Tuesday on murder charges.
In his tweet, Trump noted the impact the bloodied-head photo has had on his five children, particularly his 11-year-old son, Barron. Shields’ website featured several pics of Griffin posted on Tuesday but not the severed-head picture.
Griffin’s apology may not be enough to mitigate the damage to her career. Among her many media gigs for the past few years has been hosting CNN’s New Year’s Eve coverage with anchor Anderson Cooper.
“We found what she did disgusting and offensive,” a CNN rep said, according to CNN’s “Reliable Sources” newsletter. “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.”