CNN is severing ties with Kathy Griffin after the comedian took part in a provocative photo shoot that involved holding a bloody, severed head meant to resemble President Trump. The network called the stunt “disgusting and offensive.”
“I’m a comic,” Grffin said in an apology she shared after removing the image. “I cross the line. I move the line, then I cross it. I went way too far. The image is too disturbing. I understand how it offends people. It wasn’t funny. I get it.”
The photo was almost universally criticized. Donald Trump Jr. called it “disgusting but not surprising,” while Chelsea Clinton said the image was “vile and wrong.” President Trump called the image “sick.”
Even First Lady Melania Trump spoke out about the image, questioning Griffin’s “mental health” for making the decision to share it in the first place.
“As a mother, a wife and a human being, that photo is very disturbing,” the first lady said in a statement. “When you consider some of the atrocities happening in the world today, a photo opportunity like this is simply wrong and makes you wonder about the mental health of the person who did it.”
Griffin has co-anchored CNN’s New Year’s Eve coverage alongside Anderson Cooper since 2007. But even Cooper was unwilling to offer Griffin any support on her decision to share the images.
My colleague, columnist Jenice Armstrong, argued that the stunt will hurt Griffin’s career, “and rightfully so.”
“It’s offensive. It’s horrific. It’s morbid. It’s grotesque,” Armstrong wrote. “Griffin’s going to have a hard time living this down and rightfully so. In the past, she’s called herself a D-list celeb. What’s lower than that? Griffin’s about to find out.”
The controversial photo has already cost Griffin several jobs. Squatty Potty, which had recently hired her as a spokesperson, said that it has suspended all advertising featuring her.
“We were shocked and disappointed to learn about the image Ms. Griffin shared today,” Squatty Potty CEO Bobby Edwards said in a statement. “It was deeply inappropriate and runs contrary to the core values our company stands for. In response, Squatty Potty has suspended its ad campaign featuring Ms. Griffin. We have acted swiftly and decisively to demonstrate our commitment to a culture of decency, civility and tolerance.”
In addition, the Route 66 Casino in Albuquerque cancelled an upcoming performance by Griffin.