UPDATE: Kathy Griffin has apologized for the gory image she created with photographer Tyler Shields depicting her holding a facsimile of Donald Trump’s decapitated head. “I sincerely apologize,” she said in a video posted to social media Tuesday evening. “I am just now seeing the reaction of these images. … I went way too far. The image is too disturbing. I understand how it offends people. It wasn’t funny. I get it.” Read the rest of her apology here.
EARLIER: It appears that many people didn’t find Kathy Griffin’s latest comedic act all that funny.
After Griffin participated in a provocative photo shoot featuring the comedienne holding a bloody, decapitated facsimile of Donald Trump’s head, celebrities and prominent media figures expressed a range of responses on social media on Tuesday, with many criticizing the image.
Photographer Tyler Shields expected the image to provoke backlash, joking in an interview with EW that he hopes he can visit Griffin in Guantanamo. “I think there will be a lot of people who will absolutely hate this, but again, that’s the beauty of it,” he said. “Am I saying that anyone should actually be killed? No, it’s like a movie. How many movies are there where the president gets killed or this happens? Tons upon tons. But again, when it’s an image, especially an image like this, people don’t see it like that. They see it as reality, and that’s why it’s so shocking to some people.”
Indeed, the response has been overwhelmingly negative, with many expressing outrage. Journalist Soledad O’Brien called the image “upsetting and disgusting,” asking “Have we lost all our humanity?” Chelsea Clinton echoed these views, calling the image “vile and wrong,” and stating, “It is never funny to joke about killing a president.”
Actors Jeffrey Wright and Debra Messing expressed similar disgust but also pointed out the parallels between this and similar calls for violence against President Obama. Messing wrote, “It wasn’t right when people hung lynched Obama effigies, just as what Kathy Griffin did isn’t right now.” In reference to musician Ted Nugent’s repeated calls for President Obama’s assassination, Jeffrey Wright joked, “Maybe Ted Nugent and Kathy Griffin can go out on tour now…elsewhere.”
And shortly after the photograph hit the web, the Secret Service posted a message about “threats made against @SecretService protectees.”
Griffin shared the image on her own Twitter page, writing, “I caption this ‘there was blood coming out of his eyes, blood coming out of his…wherever'” in reference to Trump’s own statements about journalist and debate moderator Megyn Kelly. Griffin also clarified, “OBVIOUSLY, I do not condone ANY violence by my fans or others to anyone, ever! I’m merely mocking the Mocker in Chief.”
Other celebs and prominent individuals including Don Cheadle, Jeopardy whiz Ken Jennings, former presidential nominee Mitt Romney, and former Hillary Clinton adviser Peter Daou also weighed in on the image, with reactions ranging from distaste to horror.
Read a selection of tweets below.