NEW YORK — Kathy Griffin’s video holding what was meant to look like Donald Trump’s severed head made the president seethe — and now the comic known for her abrasive brand of humor not only has the White House mad at her, but also has lost an endorsement deal and at least one club engagement, and stands to lose a lucrative TV job.
President Donald Trump said Griffin “should be ashamed of herself” for appearing in the video. Trump tweeted Wednesday morning: “My children, especially my 11-year-old son, Barron, are having a hard time with this. Sick!”
First lady Melania Trump issued a statement of her own: “As a mother, a wife, and a human being, that photo is very disturbing. 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.”
Griffin has apologized, conceding that the brief video, which she originally described as an “artsy-fartsy statement” mocking the commander in chief, was “too disturbing” and wasn’t funny.
“I went too far,” she says in her contrite follow-up video. “I sincerely apologize.”
But many people online were calling for more than an apology — they called for Griffin to be jailed.
A New Mexico casino said it has canceled a performance by Griffin. She was scheduled to perform at Route 66 Casino, operated by Laguna Pueblo, on July 22.
Griffin has also lost a commercial endorsement deal that she landed just three weeks ago. Squatty Potty, a Utah-based company whose products include toilet stools and other bathroom accessories, said it was suspending an ad campaign that featured Griffin.
“We were shocked and disappointed” by the video, said Bobby Edwards, the company’s CEO. “It was deeply inappropriate and runs contrary to the core values our company stands for.”
“I am a true supporter of free speech, but feel Kathy crossed the line,” Edwards added. “I regret having to make these decisions, but have no choice.”
CNN, whose New Year’s Eve coverage Griffin has co-hosted for a decade, called the images “disgusting and offensive” and suggested she might not be invited back.
“We are pleased to see she has apologized,” CNN said in a statement, but went on, “We are evaluating New Year’s Eve and have made no decisions at this point.”
Griffin’s annual partner for those Times Square telecasts, CNN correspondent Anderson Cooper, weighed in with his own reprimand: “For the record, I am appalled by the photo shoot Kathy Griffin took part in,” he tweeted. “It is clearly disgusting and completely inappropriate.”
Griffin’s trademark comedy style trades on a self-deprecating streak (she brands herself as mired on the “D List” of show biz) while she targets celebs who are higher up the food chain. And while she may never have riled a celeb of the magnitude of President Trump, the 56-year-old comic has gotten into trouble with her wisecracks.
In 2005 she was fired from her job as an E! network red-carpet commentator after joking at the Golden Globe Awards that child actress Dakota Fanning had checked into rehab.
Two years later, while accepting an Emmy for her Bravo reality series, “Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D List,” she declared that “a lot of people come up here and thank Jesus for this award. I want you to know that no one had less to do with this award than Jesus.”
Then she held up her trophy and said, “Suck it, Jesus. THIS is my God now!”
Her appearance was during the Creative Arts Emmys ceremony, which wasn’t aired live but instead was taped for later broadcast by E! Her remarks were therefore edited. But reports of what she said drew fire from many, including Catholic League President Bill Donohue, who called it a “vulgar, in-your-face brand of hate speech.”
Griffin remained unrepentant.
“I have a no-apology policy,” she told CBS News in 2012. “No apologies for jokes. I apologize in my real life all the time. I say ridiculous things, I make mistakes constantly. But when I’m onstage, I’m at a microphone … it’s a joke!”
She said the fallout from her Emmy stunt was “heaven” for her: “I mean, it was comedy gold.”
This week, Griffin clearly rethought her rule that comedy means never having to say you’re sorry.
Frazier Moore, Associated Press