CNN Fires Kathy Griffin From New Year’s Show After Donald Trump Beheading Stunt

Kathy Griffin Anderson Cooper NYE
Noam Galai/FilmMagic

CNN has fired Kathy Griffin from their annual New Year’s Eve program, which she cohosted with anchor Anderson Cooper.

The network made the announcement via Twitter Wednesday morning.

“CNN has terminated our agreement with Kathy Griffin to appear on our New Year’s Eve program,” the CNN Public Relations account tweeted.

A spokesman for Griffin said she would have no comment beyond the apology video she posted on Tuesday.

The termination comes one day after the comedienne posted a photo and video of her holding a fake severed head of President Donald Trump. She later apologized for the photo and video, saying it went too far, and removed it from her Twitter account. She had made it as part of a photo shoot with Tyler Shields, but they did not disclose what the project was.

Trump tweeted about the photo early on Wednesday, writing that Griffin “should be ashamed of herself.”

“My children, especially my 11-year-old son Barron, are having a hard time with this. Sick!”

CNN issued a statement on Tuesday night, condemning Griffin’s video and saying that they were evaluating New Year’s Eve plans.

While that date is far away, the network was under pressure to take action. Trump’s son, Donald Trump Jr., tweeted at Jake Tapper:

Anderson Cooper, who has co-hosted the New Year’s Eve telecasts with Griffin for the past decade, said that he was “appalled by the photo shoot Kathy Griffin took part in. It is clearly disgusting and completely inappropriate.”

Griffin’s video landed at a time when there has been increasing consternation about the partisan divisions in the country devolving into violence. Last week, Greg Gianforte, a Republican candidate for Congress in Montana, was charged with misdemeanor assault after a reporter for the Guardian said that he “body slammed” him as he tried to ask a question about healthcare. Gianforte apologized to the reporter after he won his race.

Before she issued her apology, Griffin said that she was in no way condoning violence, but that it was “merely mocking the MOCKER IN CHIEF.”

Republicans are seizing on Griffin’s stunt, hammering not just Griffin but those associated with her. Among them is Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.). Like other political and celebrity figures, he condemned Griffin’s video, and told CNN, “I think she did the right thing, and asking for forgiveness and acknowledging … this was a horrible mistake.”

But the Republican National Committee has noted that Franken is still scheduled to appear with Griffin at a July 7 event at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills. Franken said that he still plans to appear with her.

He also said that he thinks she can recover from the incident. “I think she can,” he said.

While the outrage over Griffin may have moved on to another outrage by then, as tends to happen, the situation was different for CNN. It is a news network, already a frequent target of Trump, and their association with Griffin became an issue.

The furor over Griffin also has come with plenty social media pushback, as Trump has aligned himself with celebrity figures known for making inflammatory remarks. A month ago, Trump hosted Ted Nugent at the White House. Nugent made a number of inflammatory remarks about President Barack Obama, who he called a “subhuman mongrel” and said should “suck on my machine gun.”

The difference with Griffin may be in the fact that the visuals were so graphic and disturbing.

In his bio on his website, Shields is described as an “American image maker” who has “produced images that play with notions of the gaze, power structures, hyper-realism, iconoclastic-tendencies and cinematographic practice.” It notes that he produced a “blood-stained” photographic series with Lindsay Lohan, and it links to some of his past work. That includes a People story on his book, “Provocateur.”

CNN’s Tapper tweeted more comments this afternoon.

Filed Under:

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 773

Leave a Reply


Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

  1. trumpdiaries says:

    While Kathy Griffin’s recent act and much of her career is escalatory in its filth, Trump’s tweets have been disgusting, as well. In fact, his behavior overall is not much different than hers.

  2. Mutzi says:

    think before opening mouth gear Karma has a way of biting…like a marriage you say bad –you will get bad back-Kathy Griffin crocodile tears will not help–IT IS NOT TRUMP’S FAULT–IT IS HER FAULT accept responsibility of your actions like we all do

  3. Susan Dixon says:

    She deserves to lose her career over this and should serve time in prison with a metal check. there is something wrong for anyone to do something like this. She is losing jobs for doing this and rightfully so, Present Trump is not the cause of her losing any of her jobs. She is a very sick and disturbing person. her press conference mad me angry with her playing the victim and blaming president Trump for all of this. She did this to herself….

  4. Fair is Fair says:

    Although I found the image disturbing, I also find Ted Nugent’s comments disturbing. No one went after him for his Obama comments that surely must have “disturbed” the Obama children. (?). I did not see any of them attacking Mr. Nugent. Is this current administration so biased toward itself that it only allows negative comments towards others? I think free speech is important – no matter HOW it is portrayed. Lay off Kathy Griffin. She is being used as a scapegoat for an administration that is becoming truly horrible and corrupt. I don’t think ANYONE can argue that this man and several of his family are quite adept at bullying others. What is sauce for the goose – MUST be sauce for the gander. I don’t see much difference between the outburst’s of Trump, his son, his wife and Kathy Griffin other than the graphic nature. So what. Has the Trump family not seen the graphic nature of the t-shirts that I have seen regarding Trump. You know the old saying – If it’s too hot in the kitchen – get out of it. Come on people. This is the reality of living in a free country. Personally, I hope it stays that way. Good and bad.

  5. Tom Aaron says:

    I just ‘dont get it’.

    Are these celebrities really this out of touch? Its mind boggling.

    I am not a Trump fan but he is our elected President. Write a letter, vite, lead a protest, etc. But that image? i feel like I’m missing some part of the equation. She cant be that stupid!

  6. Fairness says:

    She shouldnt have been fired. She shouldnt even have to apologize! I wouldnt have! This shows the hypocrisy of republicans. They can stand there put obama dummy dolls in nooses, knife thru his neck , but once a joke is done on trump its the end of the world? Wtf? I guess I can use the word butthurt now?I congratulate kathy. What she did was bold and brave. Saved the pic as I believe it will be history. I believe in freedom of this cost her job. Love you kathy!!! True comedy!

    • Roelandt says:

      With all due respect, “Fairness”, I seriously doubt you believe in Freedom of Speech. Freedom to Agree With You, sure…but Freedom of Speech? Riiiiight. If it had been a depiction of Obama’s head, I guarantee you would have been screaming outrage, demanding her arrest. It’s unlawful to threaten a President…any US president: Washington, Lincoln, Kennedy, Nixon, Busch, Clinton, Obama, Trump. Welcome to the CIA’s Watch-list, Kathy. You earned it!

    • UhaveNoCompas says:

      What if your neighbor did that to you? Would you be concerned? What if your neighbor held up the head of your child? Would you be concerned? You have fallen so low that you can’t tell right from wrong.

    • liberal fairness is fake says:

      Remember the rodeo clown that wore an Obama mask? Yep, the liberals went after him and got him fired leaving him out of a job and unable to feed his family.
      You are a sick individual. Get help. Liberalism is a mental disorder. You have no morals and are an ISIS sympathizer.

  7. Debbie says:

    The head thing IS disgusting but I need to ask why the network allowed it in the first place when Griffin is all about shock comedy. They didn’t have a clue what she was going to do?

    On a side note, Donald Trump says Griffin should be ashamed because the fake bloodied head was too disturbing for his young son. Of course it would be, but why is Trump allowing his young son to watch Kathy Griffin comedy in the first place? He should be ashamed for that.

    She got herself into this mess and I suspect she’ll recover. I’m not one of her fans but am also not going to be one her haters.

    When it comes to online article comments, nobody can state an opinion anymore without it nearly always reaching the point of “The Great Divide of Republicans and Democrats”. The old “I’m better, no, I am better argument”. Then comes the name calling and people bashing – the Great American Ignorance.

    There’s never any peace and far too much is dictated by Twitter and maybe Facebook. If nobody notices something, then maybe we won’t, but if Twitter goes wild, well, then heads will roll and there will be a price to be paid.

  8. Donna Joyce Parrish says:



    What Griffin did is not funny, like Trump or not, it is a threat against the President of the United States. I hope the Department of Justice will do their duty and take action against Griffin. Our government is being attacked by lunatics like Griffin. This threat to over throw the President and the government is Sedition.

  10. Brad says:

    Good riddance to bad rubbish. Take note ‘shillebrities’. WE, the PEOPLE, are tired of your pathetic ANTI Americanism. Enough is enough.

  11. starman3000m says:

    Yes, Kathy went way overboard on trying to be funny in her mock “beheading” of the President of the United States. Good reason why Hollywood actors, sports celebrities, musicians and comedians alienate 50% or more of their fans whenever they go beyond the limits through this type of “expression”. From here on, Kathy will always be remembered not for her comedy acts but for her morbid depiction of her obvious inner feelings. Her career and persona have been tarnished for the rest of her life. I hope she is happy now. – MRamirez, San Antonio, TX

  12. I think Kathy Griffin should be banned from TV. We are trying to stop terrorism not have it being demonstrated by one of our American people to ever insult a President like this. I would never watch or go see anything she is in. If only these so-called celebrities would understand they are no island and without the people they are NOTHING>

    • zimexlady says:

      ALL Hollywood should be banned. As a group, they have behaved shamefully. I no longer go to movies, do not rent, do not stream…..No more. Movies from Zhollywood. They condone, promote and enable violence.

  13. What head? Does Trump even have one? If he had one is doesn’t seem to be functioning! How can the Media continue to defend this so-called President, that seems to lack all common sense, decency, integrity and makes this country the laughing stock; and the Media shows no outrage, nor does it’s citizens, but you can show your outrage over Kathy Griffin’s photo or whatever of Trump minus his head! Better ask yourselves which is more destructive to this country. If you don’t know……….your the problem.

    • Big John says:

      Yeah… like Obama did anything for this country. You DemocRATS are just a bunch of poor losers…. Crybabies that cannot take Losing. Deal with it, YOU LOST. Maybe you can look forward to your list of possible candidates for the next election: Oprah, Con-man Kanye, and Chelsea CLINTON….. what a joke your party has become. Quit your whining, Losers! 😩

    • pegneedshelp says:

      Get help immediately. Liberalism is a known mental disorder.

  14. Rhonda Rayman says:

    Glad to see it. I’ve never really been a fan of hers and I never watched that New Years Eve show. There are many times in history that people have made grotesque effigies of prominent people and I never liked to see it done. There really isn’t a reason to behave this way.

  15. amazedhuman says:

    Kathy Griffin is a disgusting piece of work. And her so-called apology is meaningless. She thought with that nasty, mentally deranged picture to be a hero to the liberal lunatic fringe and that didn’t work. For any of them with a working brain cell, it was as sickening as it was for the rest of us. America has had enough for this sick activity from the brainless. She never has been funny, now she’s proving she’s nothing much more than nauseating.

    • Jane says:

      Agree. Her apology sounded like she’s sorry that it didn’t work as planned.
      soros is behind the start of this hate movement since the pre election nominations; he should be removed from the country for treasonous acts and promoting and paying for violence which has been well documented that he is the source.

      • amazedhuman says:

        Everyone – and I do mean everyone- is fully aware that the money behind America’s unruly and just plain crazy comes right from the ugly old toad Soros who has made no bones about letting the world know how much he hates America.

      • Sam says:

        Since he wasn’t born here he can be deported for unamerican activities.

  16. donfitness says:

    Glad I don’t associate with such an intolerant, hate filled group of people like the liberals. They’ve gotten so bad that I actually pray for them. And I’m athiest! Lol

  17. Jeffrey Gee says:

    See ya butterface, never thought she was funny in the 1st place!

  18. pi314 says:

    This no-talent loser is the face of the liberal left. Keep it up Griffins of the world, the nation is watching and learning the truth about how repulsive, hateful, and intolerant you truly are.

  19. Big John says:

    Very predictable how the Liberal scum on this site, is making excuses for Kathy, the trashy CNN Puppet. Bottom line, if anyone had done this to ODUMBA or HITLERY, the DemocRATS Will all be out on the streets, setting fire to cars, and looting. That’s just how they roll. MAGA! MOLON LABE! 🇱🇷😃🇱🇷😃

  20. Has she even apologized to President Trump and his family yet?

  21. Southern Patriot says:

    I hope her and all her fake news cronies rot in HELL! There is no excuse on earth for this kind of evil behavior!!!

  22. This is great! Griffin just cost herself a effin’ fortune. Out of a job at CNN, looses a decent endorsement, this no talent will be lucky if she can get work down at the breakfast buffet room at the Holiday Inn Express for lunch money!! Couldn’t happen to a nicer (fill-in-the-blank)!!

  23. El Duderino says:

    Kathy Griffin, lik all women “comediennes” are unfunny hacks.

  24. Bannon sure learned why we think of CNN as FAKE NEWS.

  25. Fred Pickard says:

    What do you expect from low class pig? Whatta creep!

    • zimexlady says:

      She is despicable…..I have banned her from my TV forever. RETIR, Kathy. Your goose is cooked……Finally.

  26. itsy_bitsy says:

    CNN is at least showing they draw some moral lines on what their employees do and say on television or for public consumption. I suggest that they and other networks keep a close eye on what has been allowed to pass for comedy and political thought on their programs. Some of it is so offensive it long ago passed political commentary or comedy!

  27. It’s ok for Trump to terrorize innocent tenants out of their homes. The ruling liberal elite of NYC look the other way.

    • Gus says:

      If they were “innocent” as you say then there would be lawsuits! Unless you are talking about the law breakers crossing the border illegally and killed Kate Steinle? Or what about the 137 other truly innocent Americans that were slaughtered by your innocent tenants? How many more Americans have to be SACRIFICED to your ideological open borders God?

    • itsy_bitsy says:

      What “other” world are you living in? Certainly it is not reality!

  28. Rex the Wonder Dog says:

    By December trump will have been impeached, people will have forgotten all about it, and Kathy will be back

    • itsy_bitsy says:

      Now I see why you call yourself a dog! You definitely have the brain of one!

      • GS says:

        Nope it’s true. He’ll be out before year’s end, dummy. He’s quite aware now that he’s in way over his head and would rather be doing just about ANYTHING besides pretending to run the country. That’s why he HIDES at his mansions and golf courses most of the time. But hey, you conservatards got to enjoy the limelight for a few days, so there’s that.

  29. voiceofreasonoriginal says:

    variety says cnn is a frequent target of trump?

    that’s BS. it’s the other eay arond. cnn is openly advocating against trump. their coverage is 93% negative. cnn didn’t even give castro 93% negative coverage.

  30. Donna Word says:

    Of course the reporter ignores all the liberal violence in favor of mentioning the only Republican instance he can find in Gianforte’s attacking a reporter. The Dems bitter, out of control, over the top Trump hatred has shined a bright light on the true nature of their most prominent members. It is so bright that even common folks who don’t normally pay attention to politics can see through them – it’s not going to win Dems votes or turnout in the next election either.

  31. Wayne Piercy says:

    It would be a big mistake for voters to validate these sick individuals behavior by giving them a victory at the ballot box. ESPECIALLY in the near term. By “near term” I mean the next decade or so. It would be better to elect a dog to office rather then validate this behavior.

  32. Duane DePool says:

    Big deal. It’s one night. She needs the Michael Richards treatment.

  33. Robert says:

    I want to know who made her do this. She had a pro photographer shoot the pictures in a studio. Someone else was behind this with the idea. Who was this person?

  34. Joe says:

    Jake Tapper is a partisan hack liar. Trump did not make fun of the reporter’s disability.
    Tapper was a Democratic activist before he became a fake partisan “journalist” for his fake partisan network.

  35. marlene says:

    This isn’t about the First Amendment and being free to say what you want to say, it’s about showing respect for our president and setting an example of that a celebrity. Griffin went even lower than that by committing a crime in the name of a joke which clearly isn’t funny and shouldn’t be accepted as such. She abused her public platform in a grotesque way that is not acceptable, by any stretch of the imagination. “Sedition, the crime of creating a revolt, disturbance, or violence against lawful civil authority with the intent to cause its overthrow or destruction. And folks, this is violence, and we’ve seen it escalate to horrendous atrocities by the socialist left who cannot accept that Donald J. Trump is America’s President.

    • GS says:

      Showing respect for Trump just because he’s president? What about all the disrespect shown by conservaloids whenever a democrat’s in charge? Please. Griffin’s pictures were disgusting and wrong, and she’s forever an untalented D-lister, but it’s so typical of the nutso right wing to start screaming about criminal charges whenever someone on the other side indulges in the same kind of disgusting behaviour THEY indulge in when the balance of power shifts away from them. What a buncha douchebags.

  36. James Sutton says:

    Someone please stick a fork in Kathy Griffin. I think she’s done.

  37. I’m awaiting the photograph of Larry the Cable guy holding an effigy of the losing candidate’s head.
    Lorena Bobbit …everyone chuckles…Male mutilates wife? Lethal injection for him. Griffin’s routine is annoying at best. Keep moving.. nothing to see here folks…

  38. BillinCA says:

    Hypocrites. If CNN fire Griffin for that reason, they would have to fire every single employee of theirs. They all have said something that was overboard and down right disrespectful toward President Trump. Firing Griffin is a good start, but they should keep going starting with Anderson and Wolfe.

  39. Don Sjulstad says:

    I do believe Kathy is sorry. Not for what she did but for the consequences. I’m sure her agent has phoned her and told her all her future gigs and her endorsements have cancelled and she has no income. Kathy has checked the balances on her credit cards…. I’m sorry..I’m sorry…I’m sorry….

  40. FustR says:

    She said she went to far and she did.

  41. John says:


  42. Roy Galutia says:

    Unfortunately Evil Wicked words and deeds are hard to retrieve …they take on a life of their own …Don’t put them into play in the first place and you won’t have to worry about retrieving them ….!

  43. Jujubar says:

    Can’t you guys see this is Andy Dick in a red wig?

  44. Heather says:

    Could you please cite an example of “all the racist stuff they did to Obama”……… Maybe something that would match all the racist stuff the left tosses at Clarance Thomas!

  45. Rudy Mario says:

    CNN did the right thing. What she did as reported is unacceptable and further degrades democracy and citizenship. There are many other ways to express opposition to someone. Having said that, the right wing needs to do a better job with their crazies who are rarely censured. Some of the outright racist stuff they did to Obama makes our nation look horribly racist though there are Republicans who are not and neither are democrats all paragons of virtue. I believe freedom of expression can be exercised without hinting or celebrating violence or by downright degradation of specific persons.

  46. Jack Webb says:

    Can you blame Griffin? Comedy is very competitive. She has to compete with Maher’s incest remarks and Colbert’s “cock holster” comment. What she did was just a notch or two further down the dial. All these vile remarks from people who enjoy media exposure are having an effect. They are cementing the support that President Trump received from the voters. No person of conscience with morals will have anything to do with candidates supported by these people so keep up the good work. By this time in 2019, the democratic party will be consigned to the dustbin of history, like Communism and Nazism.

  47. hgwells1984 says:

    The progressive left wants to use scorched earth tactics against anyone who disagrees with them. Kathy Griffin is the poster child for the Democratic party. It is somewhat shocking that CNN and some on the left are actually holding her accountable. It is usually just double standards and ignoring anything close to accountability or integrity coming out of the left.

    • politcalimho says:

      CNN is doing as little as possible in punishing her. If they REALLY wanted to do it right, they would fire her from ALL CNN appearances – I mean REALLY fire her. Once a year event? Meh! No biggie!

  48. Lulua Mahalo says:

    Now, if CNN just terminated itself, the world would be a safer, better and happier.

  49. Sara Bellum says:

    Surprised and Thrilled CNN and others dumped her. She was crude at best. Nice send off to the dust bin of history with you, Kathy!

More TV News from Variety