On Tuesday, a series of controversial photos taken by celebrity photographer Tyler Shields, hit the web depicting comedian Kathy Griffin holding what appeared to be the bloody, severed head of President Donald Trump. The internet backlash was swift — with everyone from the Trump family to former First Daughter Chelsea Clinton — denouncing the photos and Griffin for propagating such violent imagery. Although Griffin took to Instagram almost immediately to apologize profusely for her actions, it was not enough to stem the tide of retribution and the consequences for the comedian have been immense.
This is vile and wrong. It is never funny to joke about killing a president. https://t.co/zIiuKoMyFw
— Chelsea Clinton (@ChelseaClinton) May 30, 2017
In short time, Griffin was fired from her longtime gig as co-host of CNN’s New Year’s Eve program, dropped from an endorsement deal with the personal care company Squatty Potty, and had several standup shows canceled. As the backlash continued, the comedian hired a lawyer claiming that the president is trying to destroy her. At a press conference in Los Angeles on Friday, Griffin, alongside her lawyer, Lisa Bloom, said, “If you don’t stand up, you get run over. What’s happening to me has never happened in this great country. A sitting president of the U.S. and his grown children and the first lady are personally, I feel, trying to ruin my life forever.”
“She has been vilified, getting death threats, fired from multiple jobs and had multiple events canceled,” explained Bloom. Bloom, a victim’s rights lawyer known for her work with high-profile clients and now representing Griffin, said that Trump and his family have systematically bullied the comedian, going so far as to have the U.S. Secret Service contact her personally. “Kathy never imagined it could be misinterpreted as a threat of violence against Trump,” Bloom said of her client who feels strongly that the backlash has been particularly harsh because she is a woman.
Griffin, who broke into tears at points during the press conference, said that despite the repercussions she’s faced, she will continue to use Trump as fodder for comedic material. “I’m going to make fun of him more now,” she vowed.