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

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.

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