Deep into the night of the presidential election, as results were still being tabulated all over the country, faux-comedienne Kathy Griffin, apparently emboldened enough to plunge again into the vicious depths she had hitherto descended to, retweeted the infamous photo of her holding up the bloodied, decapitated replica of President Trump’s head.
— Kathy Griffin (@kathygriffin) November 4, 2020
Griffin initially posted the photo in May 2017, triggering a firestorm of criticism. Even CNN management ripped her; a spokesperson for the company stated, “We found what she did disgusting and offensive. We are pleased to see she has apologized and asked that the photos be taken down. We are evaluating New Year’s Eve and have made no decisions at this point.”
Keith Olbermann and Chelsea Clinton also both ripped Griffin.
At the end of May 2017, she apologized, writing on Twitter, “I am sorry. I went too far. I was wrong.”
At the beginning of June 2017, Dmitry Gorin, a criminal defense attorney representing Griffin, protested at a news conference with Griffin, “She basically exercised her First Amendment rights to tell a joke. When you look at everything in the media, all the times entertainers make videos or express themselves in other ways, you’ve never seen an entertainer, let alone a comedian, be subject to a criminal investigation.” He confirmed an investigation had been commenced.
Griffin tearfully added, “I don’t think I will have a career after this. I’m going to be honest. He broke me,” but insisted she reserved the right to continue to mock Trump, adding, “I’m not afraid of Donald Trump. He’s a bully. I’ve dealt with older white guys trying to keep me down my whole life, my whole career.”
In early July 2017, it was reported that the Secret Service interviewed Griffin about the incident. But by the end of August, Griffin indicated she was unrepentant. Appearing on Australia’s Sunrise Live with hosts David Koch and Samantha Armytage, she brazenly stated that she wasn’t sorry for the infamous photo, calling the incendiary reaction to the photo “B.S.”, referring to the “atrocities” perpetrated by President Trump, and whining about all she’s suffered because she’s a woman.
The relevant part of the interview started like this:
Koch: You were very sorry at the time; you apologized. You were very upset. Are you no longer sorry for it?
Griffin: Correct. I’m no longer sorry. The whole outrage was B.S. The whole thing got so blown out of proportion. And I lost everybody; I had Chelsea Clinton tweeting against me. I had friends, Debra Messing, from Will and Grace, tweeting against me. I mean, I lost everybody. And so I have been through the mill, I also, I didn’t just lose like, one night on CNN; my entire tour was canceled within 24 hours because every single theater got all these death threats. I mean, these Trump fans; they’re hard-core. They have, like, robocalls, and they’re a minority, but they know how to act like they’re a majority.
Armytage pointed out that it wasn’t just “Trump fans” that had targeted Griffin:
Debra Messing and Chelsea Clinton aren’t Trump fans; even Democrats said it was out of line. I get that comedy is about pushing the boundary, and being politically incorrect and that’s fine. But do you not agree that that picture, holding up a severed head, I know it’s a mask, covered in tomato sauce, but do you do not accept that was a little bit over the line?
Griffin defiantly responded:
No, you’re full of crap. Stop this. You know this. Stop acting like my little picture is more important than talking about the actual atrocities that the President of the United States is committing, and I’m also on a mission to tell people honestly if it happened to me, as big-mouthed and obnoxious as I am, it can happen to you.