Kathy auditions for Salome

“I find it funny when bullies play the victims.  Oops.  I spilled my tea.”
Demi Lovato‘s Tweet after Kathy Griffin‘s mea culpa.

I would like to think I don’t have to explain the kerfuffle Kathy Griffin caused last week.  But, following in the footsteps of Barbara Walters, I feel compelled to recap quickly for the two readers out of the loop.  Griffin had a photo shoot with Tyler Shields.  Shields is known for edgy, gritty photos.  Kathy’s a kooky comic.  Put them together, and you’re bound to stir up controversy.  A few years back, he famously shot Griffin with a pair of scissors poised to cut off her tongue – in other words, trying to censor her (as if).  For this shoot, the duo decided to target Trump.  Kathy says an assistant went out and bought a Trump mask, she tousled a wig, and someone else mixed fake blood in the kitchen.  Bing, bang, boom, she’s holding what appears to be a bloody Trump head.  She says this was a visual metaphor of Donald‘s famous 2015 comments about Megyn Kelly: “You could see there was blood coming out of her eyes.  Blood coming out of her wherever.”  Perhaps a more recent reference would have made this clear.  Within moments of the photo being leaked, Kathy was attacked from all sides.  Many people saw the photo as a call for physical violence on Trump.  Personally, I thought Kathy was auditioning to play Salome.

However, the pressure was on for Griffin to apologize.  She released a heartfelt video – you could tell she was sincere since she wasn’t wearing any makeup!  But it was too late.  Trump, his family and supporters were on the attack, and social media was in an uproar – something I know a thing or two about.  Within a few hours, Kathy had been flushed from Squatty Potty.  I mean, how tragic to be dumped as spokesperson for a device that helps you poop.  Shortly thereafter, six venues cancelled upcoming shows (she has a light schedule this summer, due to a heavy winter).  A few promoters pointed out that they weren’t canceling her because of the photo per se – but because they couldn’t afford the extra security.

And then CNN announced they would not re-engage her for their New Year’s Eve telecast.  The reaction was a study in contrasts.  Former CNN star Larry King said, “I wouldn’t have fired her.  Ted Turner wouldn’t have fired her.  They’re jumping all over her now.  I would’ve kept her.”  Current CNN star Anderson Cooper said, “For the record, I am appalled by the photo shoot Kathy Griffin took part in.  It is clearly disgusting and completely inappropriate.”  Then Piers Morgan jumped into the fray.  After condemning Kathy’s press conference, he added, “Trust me, Mr Cooper chucks everyone under a bus to save his career.  Spineless little man.”  Note that one of these three men still has a career.  Showbiz ain’t always pretty.  Kathy then hired famed attorney Lisa Bloom.  My reaction?  I’d spend a few extra bucks and get Lisa’s mom, Gloria Allred.  At the press conference, the only times Kathy broke down were when asked for a reaction to Anderson’s Tweet.  It gets murkier.  Rumor has it that Anderson is pushing for his best buddy Andy Cohen to co-host with him on New Year’s Eve.  Stay tuned.

My issue with the photo was I didn’t find the image funny.  Even as social commentary, I expect more from a comedian.  That said, if there’s one thing I am, it’s loyal.  Kathy Griffin has always been good to me.  I’ve been to her homes, gone to her parties, appeared on stage and TV with her, etc.  But above all else, I believe in free speech – just like I did when people hung Obama in effigy.  Did I like it?  No.  But one doesn’t have to agree with the sentiment or what it represents to defend the right for someone to express it.

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