Griffin Garners Secret Service Attention, Apologizes for Trump Gaffe
Comedian Kathy Griffin is known for stepping on toes, especially those of her celebrity peers, but she seems to have crossed into the territory of being considered a possible threat, at least according to the Twitter account of the U.S. Secret Service.
A photo taken by celebrity photographer Tyler Shields was posted by both Shields and Griffin to their social media accounts. The photo showed Griffin holding what appeared to be the decapitated and bloody head of U.S. President Donald Trump.
Along with the photo was Griffin’s statement, “I caption this ‘there was blood coming out of his eyes, blood coming out of his … wherever,'” which was a reference to Trump’s comments during the primary season, to former Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly.
The image and her statement drew immediate attention and there seemed to be few who supported the controversial image. After being berated on social media for what many were calling an inappropriate and dangerous photo, Griffin tweeted that she was simply trying to imitate the president.
“OBVIOUSLY, I do not condone ANY violence by my fans or others to anyone, ever! I’m merely mocking the Mocker in Chief,” she tweeted in response to the uproar.
The photo of Griffin inspired public outrage from both political sides and resulted in the U.S. Secret Service releasing a collection of statements via Twitter.
Originally, the agency did not mention the photo in their tweets, but once many people linked them to Griffin’s gruesome photo they responded, “On it! @SecretService has a robust protective intelligence division that monitors open source reporting & social media to evaluate threats.”
Only an hour later the U.S. Secret Service followed up with another tweet indicating that threats against anyone in their protection will receive highest priority.
“Threats made against @SecretService protectees receive the highest priority of all of our investigations. #ProtectionNeverRests,” the U.S. Secret Service said.
After Kathy Griffin’s name began trending on Twitter, the U.S. Secret Service released another statement without mentioning the actual photo:
“The U.S. Secret Service has a critical mission. It is always unfortunate when people make statements that could be perceived as threats. We don’t have the luxury of knowing a person’s intent. Each alleged or perceived threat has to be investigated thoroughly which taxes Secret Service manpower and resources that could be utilized elsewhere.”
Due to public outcry and possibly the involvement of the U.S. Secret Service, Griffin subsequently released a video apologizing for the graphic image.
She also tweeted that she was sorry. “I am sorry. I went too far. I was wrong,” she tweeted, along with a video of herself speaking into the lens.
In the video she said she asked for forgiveness while saying that as a comic she crossed the line and went too far.
“Hey everybody, it’s me, Kathy Griffin. I sincerely apologize. I am just now seeing the reaction to these images. I’m a comic. I crossed 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. I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my career. I will continue. I ask your forgiveness. Taking down the image. I am going to ask the photographer to take down the image. And I beg for your forgiveness. I went too far. I made a mistake and I was wrong.”
President Trump’s son, Donald Trump Jr. expressed his disgust.
“Disgusting but not surprising,” Donald Trump Jr. tweeted, “This is the left today. They consider this acceptable. Imagine a conservative did this to Obama as POTUS?”
Chelsea Clinton also tweeted that “this is vile and wrong. It is never funny to joke about killing a president.”
Liberal actress Debra Messing seemed to share Chelsea Clinton’s opinion. The actress tweeted “it wasn’t right when people hung lynched Obama effigies, just as what Kathy Griffin did isn’t right now.”
The scandal may result in CNN dropping Kathy Griffin from hosting New Year’s Eve special this year.
In response to the controversy, a CNN spokesperson said the news network “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.”
Anderson Cooper, her co-host and often the butt of her jokes on the annual holiday special tweeted out against the photo as well. He said that “for the record, I am appalled by the photo shoot Kathy Griffin took part in. It is clearly disgusting and completely inappropriate.”
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