First lady Melania Trump responded to the uproar comedian Kathy Griffin kicked up on Tuesday after images from a shocking photo shoot she took part in emerged online. The photos and an accompanying video showed Griffin holding a blood-soaked effigy of President Trump’s severed head. A backlash ensued almost immediately as the photos spread on social media. According to reports, 11-year-old first son Barron Trump saw the images on television and thought it was his father’s real severed head.
On Wednesday morning, Melania Trump issued a brief statement questioning Griffin’s mental health. “As a mother, a wife and a human being, that photo is very disturbing. 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,” the first lady said.
For her part, Griffin issued an apology late on Tuesday night, saying, “I’m a comic. I moved the line, then I crossed it. I went way too far. The image is way too disturbing,” in a video posted on social media. Griffin went on to say she would ask the photographer to take down the photo and that “I beg for your forgiveness.”
The president didn’t seem like he was in a forgiving mood when he woke up Wednesday morning and tweeted about it, among a host of other topics, saying Griffin “should be ashamed of herself” and that the photo stunt was “Sick!”
The fallout from the shocking images continued for Griffin on Wednesday afternoon. CNN announced it was parting ways with Griffin, who has co-hosted the news network’s New Year’s Eve coverage with Anderson Cooper since 2007. Several CNN on-air personalities condemned Griffin over the images, The New York Post notes. Cooper was among those at CNN who criticized Griffin, saying on Twitter that the photo shoot was “disgusting and completely inappropriate.”
In an interview with BuzzFeed News, Tyler Shields, the photographer behind the gruesome images initially defended his work, but eventually pulled the photos and video offline.