Earlier this afternoon, comedian Kathy Griffin called a press conference to set the record straight on her controversial photo shoot holding what appears to be the bloody severed head of Donald Trump earlier this week. As evidenced by behind-the-scenes footage taken at the shoot, both Griffin and photographer Tyler Shields were well aware that they were making something potentially incendiary. But today, a tearful Griffin described what she characterized as an outsized response to her exercising her First Amendment rights. “I didn’t think people would threaten to murder me or mobilize people to murder me,” she said.
“I don’t think I will have a career after this. He broke me, and then I was like, ‘No, this isn’t right.’ And then I apologized and then I realized what was really happening and then it was a mob mentality,” she said, her attorney Lisa Bloom by her side. Griffin says she’s been losing work—including five stand-up tour dates—and getting constant death threats ever since the photo was published on Tuesday, with Bloom adding that she’s also under investigation by the Secret Service for the remark. The worst of it, according to both women, is coming from the Trump family, which is using its unparalleled influence to put pressure on Griffin from both the public and private sectors.
“He’s not just Donald Trump, real estate developer, and this isn’t just another celebrity feud. He’s the president of the United States,” Bloom said. “His family is calling on Kathy on Twitter to be fired from all of her jobs. This is outrageous and unprecedented.” She adds, “For the first time in history that we are aware of, the President of the United States and his family has personally attempted to ruin a comedian. “The message was clear: Criticize the president, lose your job,” she concluded, before pointing out, like many have on social media, that Ted Nugent made threats against President Obama during his administration, and got invited to the White House once Trump got into office.
Characterizing the response as “bullying,” Bloom re-iterated Griffin’s statement that the photo shoot was a response to Trump’s misogynistic quip that then-Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly had “blood coming out of her eyes, or wherever.” Griffin also re-iterated that her apology for the stunt “absolutely stands,” while defiantly declaring that he “picked the wrong redhead.” “I am not afraid of Donald Trump. He’s a bully,” she said. “I get what I am, I’m the shiny object so that nobody’s talking about his FBI investigation.”
She’s not finding much support in Hollywood, either: Aside from a handful of comedians, like Jim Carrey and Jamie Foxx, the silence from Griffin’s colleagues has been notable. Her now-former CNN co-host Anderson Cooper went so far as to condemn her on Twitter, writing, “For the record, I am appalled by the photo shoot Kathy Griffin took part in. It is clearly disgusting and completely inappropriate.”