US television network CNN has booted Kathy Griffin from its New Year’s Eve coverage for her disturbing photoshoot holding up a faux severed and bloody head of President Donald Trump.
The network said in a statement overnight, “CNN has terminated our agreement with Kathy Griffin to appear on our New Year’s Eve program.”
After the controversial image of Griffin went viral on Tuesday, sparking widespread backlash on both the right and left, CNN anchor (and Griffin’s New Year’s Eve co-host and close friend) Anderson Cooper tweeted, “For the record, I am appalled by the photo shoot Kathy Griffin took part in. It is clearly disgusting and completely inappropriate.”
CNN’s Jake Tapper also denounced the imagery on air.
Griffin later apologised for the disturbing photo in a Twitter video, saying, “I went way too far. I made a mistake and I was wrong.”
Meanwhile, the Trumps blasted Griffin for the stunt.
“Kathy Griffin should be ashamed of herself. My children, especially my 11-year-old son, Barron, are having a hard time with this. Sick!” Mr Trump tweeted overnight.
First lady Melania Trump said in a statement on Wednesday: “As a mother, a wife, and a human being, that photo is very disturbing.”
Kathy Griffin should be ashamed of herself. My children, especially my 11 year old son, Barron, are having a hard time with this. Sick!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 31, 2017
Disgusting but not surprising. This is the left today. They consider this acceptable. Imagine a conservative did this to Obama as POTUS? https://t.co/QdghcbIjS7
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) May 30, 2017
“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 statement continued.
The US Secret Service, responsible for presidential security, has opened an inquiry into the posting of Griffin posing with the severed-head replica, a spokesman in Los Angeles said when asked whether the agency was looking into the incident as a potential threat on the president’s life.
“We’re aware of it and we’re investigating it,” the spokesman, George Fernandez, told Reuters. He declined to elaborate.
A New Mexico casino, the Route 66 Casino Hotel west of Albuquerque, said it had cancelled an appearance by Griffin scheduled for July 22.
Griffin apologised in a video posted to Twitter late on Tuesday. “I’m a comic … I move the line and then I cross it … I went way too far,” she said. “The image is too disturbing … I ask your forgiveness.”
Celebrity news website TMZ published a behind-the-scenes video on Tuesday of Griffin posing with the model head for a photo shoot. She is seen reviewing the photos with photographer Tyler Shields and jokingly saying, “We have to move to Mexico today because we’re going to go to prison, federal prison.” TMZ posted an image from the shoot on Twitter.
“This is vile and wrong,” Chelsea Clinton, daughter of former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, wrote on Twitter. “It is never funny to joke about killing a president.”
Mr Trump’s oldest son, Donald Trump Jr, called on sponsors of Griffin, including CNN, to condemn the comedian.
This story originally appeared in the New York Post and is reprinted with permission
Originally published as CNN ditches Griffin amid Trump stunt