On Tuesday, comedian Kathy Griffin released images and videos of a new photo shoot with photographer Tyler Shields. In the shoot, Kathy appeared holding what appeared to be the severed head of President Donald Trump, with blood running down its face. The gory photo has sparked outrage on social media.
The photograph and video, showing Griffin slowly lifting the fake severed head, was published on Tuesday morning at TMZ. During the shoot, TMZ says, Griffin joked that she and the photographer will need to move to Mexico after the images were released, for fear that they might go to prison. Despite knowing that the shoot could potentially cause a backlash, however, Griffin shared the shoot on her Twitter. In her tweet, she referenced Trump’s comments about former Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly, when he claimed she had “blood coming out of her wherever.”
After social media criticism began, Griffin defended her work and said that it was merely “artistic expression” that she used to accompany an interview she did with Yashar Ali the same day.
The son of Donald Trump, Donald Trump Jr., also hit back at the comedian over the controversy. In a tweet, Trump Jr. said that her images were disgusting but not surprising, and that she is a symbol of what the left is today.
Griffin is expected to be the co-host for CNN’s New Year’s Eve special with Anderson Cooper, but a new social media campaign could potentially ruin her plans. Disgusted people from all over America have been contacting Griffin’s agent, which prompted her to take to Twitter and apologize. In her apology video, Griffin said that she is sorry, and that she “went too far.”
She said that she understands how her actions have offended many people, and that this is one of a number of mistakes she has made throughout her career. Speaking to Fox News, however, photographer Tyler Shields said that they were attempting to send a “bold message.” During his interview with Fox News, Shields said that he and Griffin have worked together numerous times before, and that this time they intended to make a political statement. He claimed that the image was meant to be a piece of art, but that he accepted it could make some people uncomfortable.
He went on:
“That’s what art is meant to do…Some people look at it and they love it. Some people look at it and they hate it.”
The original “Behind the scenes with Kathy Griffin” video that Shields tweeted has since been removed from YouTube. Shields claimed the original video was removed because of technical issues, and was later reuploaded. The second video has once again been removed.
This is not the first time that Shields has caused controversy with his photography. A previous photograph showed Heather Morris, an actor from the show “Glee,” with bruises all over her face. Shields was accused of belittling the suffering of domestic abuse victims.
Shields appears less apologetic than Griffin, saying that while he cannot speak for her, he knows that she likes to be controversial. He claimed that the very fact freedom of speech in America allows him to make an image like this “says a lot.” He went on to jokingly say that he hopes he will be allowed to visit Griffin in Guantanamo Bay.
Griffin’s New Year’s Eve co-host, CNN anchor Anderson Cooper, took to Twitter on Tuesday night. He said that Griffin’s actions appall him, and he believes it was both inappropriate and disgusting.