Open thread: Kathy Griffin resorts to the Old White Guys canard

by Grania

I think by now everybody is familiar with the event of the week where comedian Kathy Griffin decided that holding a prop of a bloody severed head of Donald Trump was a fine moment of political commentary and comedy.

Regardless of political persuasion, people generally reacted with distaste and revulsion, the image perhaps a little too close a reminder of the mindless savagery of ISIS and those of a similar ilk, and CNN fired her within 24 hours.

I find it hard to believe that she did not think that people would react to her stunt with outrage or distaste. If a right-wing comedian (is there such a thing in the US?) had done the same with a severed prop head of Barack Obama there would have been nation-wide outrage and op eds about systemic racism, charges of white supremacy and doubtless, demands that the perpetrator lose their job. That’s guaranteed. After all, there are plenty of people on the political left calling for professor Bret Weinstein to lose his job on charges of imaginary racism.

At her most recent appearance with her lawyer Lisa Bloom, Kathy Griffin broke down but maintained that she was the one being bullied and that she was being silenced by a bunch of old white guys.

In my opinion, if your very public behaviour is such that your employer no longer wishes to tolerate you, that is not censorship. Griffin does feminism no favour at all when she tries to absolve herself of the consequences of her actions and blame it all on the patriarchy.  At least Milo Yiannopoulos had sufficient dignity to apologise and move on when he found he had trespassed over the bounds of what his employer was prepared to tolerate.

Is Kathy Griffin the perpetrator or the victim?


  1. Posted June 3, 2017 at 10:11 am | Permalink

    Seriously? Obama was burned, hanged, decapitated, and probably sodomized in effigy countless times. Doesn’t take much googling to find examples.

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted June 3, 2017 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

      That doesn’t mean it’s okay for the left to do it. I couldn’t tell you how many anti-Trump posts I’ve posted on my website. No one could possibly doubt my antipathy towards him. However, my instantaneous reaction to what Griffin did was that it was wrong.

      I didn’t even connect it with terrorist decapitations either, and I don’t like people bringing those up. With or without those murders by DAESH et al, this is wrong.

      When Trump was in Dallas there was a published cartoon suggesting he get the same treatment as JFK. I wrote then that that was wrong too, so I’m not just jumping on the bandwagon.

      Griffin apologized. I don’t know whether the taking down of the image and the follow up apology were planned before the image even went up. Either way, she should have left it there.

      Her action now, with a prominent lawyer in tow, shows a similar lack if awareness to that she showed in the first place. Blaming old white men in this situation just damages the cause.

      Her entire career shouldn’t be destroyed for this – she should be allowed to come back. She cannot, however, expect there to be no blow back from such as egregious action. Losing the CNN gig, for example, was entirely proper.

      • BJ
        Posted June 3, 2017 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

        Indeed, I don’t think you can pull this kind of stunt using the head of any human being (except maybe people who have committed genocides) and expect not to get blowback. It’s a despicable act, no matter how despicable the person it was directed at.

      • somer
        Posted June 3, 2017 at 6:33 pm | Permalink


    • BJ
      Posted June 3, 2017 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

      Yes, and we had endless media coverage of it, endless op-eds about the systemic racism of it, etc. And it wasn’t done by anyone in the media, so there was nobody to fire.

      • somer
        Posted June 3, 2017 at 6:31 pm | Permalink


  2. Posted June 3, 2017 at 10:16 am | Permalink


    • snowyflake58
      Posted June 3, 2017 at 10:38 am | Permalink

      I am wondering how many people who were offended and disgusted by Kathy Griffin’s stunt were as offended and disgusted by pictures of Barack Obama being a)Lynched b) dressed in African tribal dress c) set on fire d) shown as a member of a chimpanzee family e) a swastika on his forehead etc. Not a peep.

      • BJ
        Posted June 3, 2017 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

        (1) This is not an argument in favor of what she did or for her in any way, and (2) none of that was done by prominent media figures, so they didn’t need to be fired.

        Oh, and there was endless coverage of it. And you have no idea how many people who are outraged at this were also outraged at the stuff done to Obama’s image. I’m one of those people, and Heather Hastie in a comment above is another. You’re making assertions with no data, or even anecdotes, to back them up.

        • Rita
          Posted June 3, 2017 at 7:36 pm | Permalink


        • scottoest
          Posted June 3, 2017 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

          “(2) none of that was done by prominent media figures, so they didn’t need to be fired.”

          Not only was some of it done by prominent figures, some of it was done by the GOP’s own politicians.

          Am I the only one who remembers the racist chain emails and christmas cards that got leaked?

          Glenn Beck spent months on Fox, comparing everything Obama did to the Third Reich – with literal pictures and historical footage airing as he spoke. Don’t even get me started on even worse people like Limbaugh and Hannity.

          Griffin was rightly condemned for what she did, and I have no issue with CNN deciding they don’t want to employ her any more. But there are absolutely buckets and buckets of crocodile tears being shed over this affair by GOP surrogates, politicians, and voters right now.

          • Posted June 3, 2017 at 11:52 pm | Permalink

            My personal experience here in Hungary that while the public figures and voters of the right always brag about moral, they tend to use that exclusively against public figures of the opposing side. In practice the leftist voters measure their own to much higher moral standards than the other side. That of course leads to a situation where right side public figures can get away with things that would finish out left side figures.

            • Diane G.
              Posted June 4, 2017 at 1:27 am | Permalink

              Nowhere was that more obvious than during the most recent US election. 😉

            • scottoest
              Posted June 4, 2017 at 5:36 am | Permalink

              Yes, that is absolutely the case, and I actually wrote something to that effect, before deleting it because I felt I was getting overlong in my response.

              Neither voter base exactly demands the world of their politicians, but the GOP base holds their politicians to a much, MUCH lower standard. Look at some of the stuff Trump said and did, and it didn’t even cost him the super-religious wing of the party.

              And it’s not like we are talking opaque beltway intrigue that can be hard to make sense of – Trump routinely failed tests of basic human decency and respect, on the trail. He continues to, in the White House. And yet still, his base of support is absolutely entrenched between 35% and 40% of the electorate.

              Griffin caught hell from all sides, and almost immediately apologized because she realized how monumental her mistake was. Whatever happened to Ted Nugent? How many GOP congresspeople even condemned his statements, let alone forced an apology out of Nugent himself?

              The difference there pretty much sums up the enduring difference between Democrats and Republicans.

    • Posted June 3, 2017 at 11:22 am | Permalink

      + 1. And I hate when a fellow XX owner says in essence, “I can do no wrong because I am a woman”.

  3. GBJames
    Posted June 3, 2017 at 10:20 am | Permalink

    She can be both perpetrator and victim. Which is the situation, IMO.

    In any case, Barack Obama was subjected to a great deal of this kind of stuff in the form of hanging/burning in effigy, etc.

    So, while I have little sympathy for this kind of stunt, I can not see it as some kind of left-wing novelty.

    • Posted June 3, 2017 at 10:24 am | Permalink

      Agree, but as the saying goes “wisdom is anticipating consequences.”

    • Posted June 3, 2017 at 11:21 am | Permalink

      I guess, there may be now a handful of demonstrators and individual citizens doing bad things to effigies of Trump. This is OK. Here, the problem is that a high-profile comedian does this on TV and insists to keep her job after that.

      The same way, I have little problem with random guys badmouthing women but when Tim Hunt did it, I immediately thought he had to go. I know some will disagree with me here.

      • Zach
        Posted June 3, 2017 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

        Tim Hunt did not “badmouth women.” You really ought to look into what he actually said and how that whole thing played out.

        But yes, the primary difference is that, on some level, we expect angry degenerates to express violence against the president. When someone in the public light does it, it’s different—different in context, if not in content.

        • Posted June 3, 2017 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

          “But yes, the primary difference is that, on some level, we expect angry degenerates to express violence against the president.”

          Angry degenerates like Ted Nugent? who was both excused by Trump for his expressions of violence against Obama, and rewarded with a visit to the white house.

          • Zach
            Posted June 3, 2017 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

            Yes, angry degenerates like Ted Nugent.

            That’s a much fairer comparison to Kathy Griffin (who, btw, I don’t think is an angry degenerate). The fact that one of them was invited to the White House, while the other lost a job, says much about the bounds of civility that the Left and Right endorse.

        • BJ
          Posted June 3, 2017 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

          Indeed, better look into what you said about Tim Hunt, maya. That situation is not what you think it was at all.

        • Zach
          Posted June 4, 2017 at 1:53 am | Permalink

          In case you haven’t (sorry, this has been bugging me all day), and in case there are other people here who still think that Tim Hunt seriously advocated sex-segregated labs, I’ll go ahead and summarize this Observer article for you.

          First off, here is the incriminating paragraph from his speech at the time:

          It’s strange that such a chauvinist monster like me has been asked to speak to women scientists. Let me tell you about my trouble with girls. Three things happen when they are in the lab: you fall in love with them, they fall in love with you, and when you criticize them they cry. Perhaps we should make separate labs for boys and girls? Now seriously, I’m impressed by the economic development of Korea. And women scientists played, without doubt, an important role in it. Science needs women and you should do science despite all the obstacles, and despite monsters like me.

          A few contextual points:

          1) He delivered this speech at a conference in South Korea specifically devoted to the achievements of women in science. Some of his female proteges were in the audience.

          2) Although he referred to “girls…in the lab,” he was actually alluding to a specific woman: his wife, a fellow professor at UCL, whom he met in his laboratory. To break it down, he was speaking ironically, saying that the worst possible outcome of women participating in science is that you end up falling in love with them and marrying them. Terrible, right?

          3) The “journalist” who broke this story, Connie St. Louis, flat-out lied when she claimed that these remarks were greeted with “stony-faced” silence. Multiple other witnesses (most of them women) confirmed that most people in the audience understood the gist of the language and chuckled appreciatively.

          And Tim Hunt had to resign a few days later.

          I don’t want to beat up on Connie St. Louis though. While there were many disgraceful characters in this episode, I’d rank her towards the bottom of a list of them. Frankly, I don’t find it all that surprising that a journalist with an axe to grind would take quotes grossly out of context and regurgitate them to further her career.

          No, what boggled my mind, when I first heard about all this, was the completely uncritical way in which Tim Hunt’s institution received St. Louis’s reporting of him, and how quickly they pressured him to resign. There wasn’t even the semblance of an independent investigation. Just, “Out you go!” I’d put them at the top of the list.

          Second would be all the media outlets relaying St. Louis’s version of events as uncritically as UCL received them.

          Third would be those people who still opposed Hunt’s reinstatement once his full remarks, and his innocent intent, were later disclosed. Unfortunately, that Observer article is much shorter than I remember. The original had less ads surrounding it. It also had a few paragraphs devoted to the unrelentingly humorless attitude that Tim Hunt’s detractors have on the subject of gender. They essentially doubled down on his plight, taking the stance that even his self-deprecating jokes about women in science are taboo. Their attitude is epitomized by this paragraph in a Guardian article:

          All the same, the surge of support [for Tim Hunt] shows how widely misunderstood the pressing need for feminist activism still is, particularly in science. According to the latest evidence, women occupy just 12% of jobs in science, technology and engineering. In research, women earn less, are less likely to be promoted, and win fewer awards to support their work. A third of PhD students are women, but only one in 10 professors. This is not a joking matter (although the #distractinglysexy hashtag did a good job of showing there could be a funny side).

          In other words, “It’s OK that Tim Hunt got thrown under the bus of gender equality, because it’s going somewhere worthwhile.”

          The whole thing was a scandal.

          • Bob Murray
            Posted June 4, 2017 at 5:26 am | Permalink


          • BJ
            Posted June 4, 2017 at 9:14 am | Permalink

            Oh, you should rank Connie St.-Louis much higher on your list. When audio evidence refuting her claims was brought forth, she just called everyone who said she lied a racist and misogynist. She refused to ever change her claims and instead decided to claim victimhood as somehow being a counter to actual audio evidence against her. It then came out that almost the entire resume she used to become a “Professor of Journalism” and which was on her university’s website and written by her was fabricated. And yet, she was never punished, neither by her school nor her publication.

            • Zach
              Posted June 4, 2017 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

              All right. In that spirit, I’d like to share a limerick that came to me not long after the affair wrapped up:

              The Nobel Prize winner Tim Hunt
              Made a joke with himself as its brunt
              But someone thought, “No!”
              And his rep was brought low
              By the pen of a humorless…

              Well, you get the idea.

        • Zach
          Posted June 4, 2017 at 2:02 am | Permalink

          Btw, maya, I don’t blame you for your stance on the Tim Hunt affair. You’re just (well, almost) as much a victim of the shoddy reporting surrounding it as he was.

        • Les Faby
          Posted June 4, 2017 at 10:38 am | Permalink

          (This comment is about Tim Hunt, not the almost-a-celebrity comedian)
          Zach, thanks for the Tim Hunt comment. He told a joke about women in science.
          His wife, Professor Mary Collins, one of Britain’s most senior immunologists, can vouch for his positive attitude towards women and science. The actual women that worked with him also vouched for his support of women in science. Throwing out a productive Nobelist because he had to apologise for a clumsy joke was an appalling way to treat a couple that had dedicated their sizable talents to science.
          The digital lynch mob is a place where bullies ambush. The internet is a place to destroy people way out of portion to their “sin”.
          CNN firing a comedian that is hardly working there anyway is justified. They have a freedom of association.

  4. Stephen Barnard
    Posted June 3, 2017 at 10:22 am | Permalink

    While I agree that Griffin crossed the line and deserved the reaction she got from the left and the right, I disagree that if a right-winger did something similar there would be universal condemnation. The right wing did things just as bad to Obama and the response was crickets. There are many examples (try googling “obama hung in effigy”), but just to give one, Ted Nugent said Obama should “suck on my machine gun” — and he was invited to tour the White House.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted June 3, 2017 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

      Hell, Fox News featured a steady stream of it nightly from their talk show hosts. Think of Glenn Beck’s rise to fame in 2009. I recall this bit from him pretending to be Obama dowsing a taxpayer in gasoline, lighting a match, and threatening to set him ablaze.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted June 3, 2017 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

        Difference was, ratings soared on Fox,, which never considered firing them; Rupert Murdoch and Roger Ailes giggled all the way to the bank.

    • Diane G.
      Posted June 4, 2017 at 1:30 am | Permalink

      + 1

    • Molly Harden
      Posted June 4, 2017 at 6:51 pm | Permalink


      – ‘In conclusion, both sides do it but the Left is much worse.’
      – ‘If the Right did something like this, would they would suffer worse consequences.’

      Those lies are repeated so often. It’s funny to see commentators writing them as if they’re exposing some hidden truth.

      I think it can come from not listening to what the Right actually says. People who listen will hear “Suck on my machine gun” and worse all the time, from public figures who don’t face negative consequences. But if I stay in my more-righteous-than-thou bubble, Kathy Griffen will seem like the worst ever.

      And she completely apologized! When did Ted Nugent, Alex “pizza-gate” Jones, or Donald “I’ll pay for your assault legal defense” Trump ever come close to apologizing?

  5. DrBrydon
    Posted June 3, 2017 at 10:28 am | Permalink

    Well, the attitude the media, both news and entertainment, seems to be projecting is that Trump is fair game. Liberals vocally, and many conservatives less vocally, want him gone. Griffin clearly felt safe to pile on. Unfortunately for her, she found out that there are still limits even for people who don’t support Trump, and that there are still people who do. It was bad humor, bad taste, bad politics, and unbelievably obtuse. I don’t feel sorry for her.

    That said, death threats are always wrong, and every public person from the President down should decry them in whatever context they occur.

  6. Posted June 3, 2017 at 10:38 am | Permalink

    Generally I don’t agree that employers should be free to fire people based on their public statements or non-felonious activities. It’s probably reasonable to make an exception for employees in public communication roles, but I think most people deserve protection from retaliation based on their opinions or social media activities. There are people losing their jobs for far less than this.

    • Adam M.
      Posted June 3, 2017 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

      I agree with you. Even if they’re legally free to fire someone for any reason, I don’t want to live in a society where people can be hounded out of their jobs by Twitter mobs for a bad joke or a small, decade-old political donation or even a strongly held political belief as long as they’re not misrepresenting their personal views as the views of their company. I don’t want to live in a society where only those who espouse “acceptable” beliefs or else keep quiet in public can have a decent job, feed their families, etc.

      So yeah, Kathy brought it on herself, but “it” shouldn’t have included being fired in my opinion.

    • Craw
      Posted June 3, 2017 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

      I don’t like it, unless the speech directly affects their ability to do their job. Here it clearly does.

      • BJ
        Posted June 3, 2017 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

        Exactly, and it affects the reputation of the company in question if they decide to keep her on, being in the news business and all.

  7. Posted June 3, 2017 at 10:42 am | Permalink

    This may be harsh, but she is a talentless hack who sought attention and got exactly what she deserved.

    • Thomas Lee
      Posted June 3, 2017 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

      It is a harsh viceral reaction. You have nothing substantial to contribute to the conversation.

  8. CDubya
    Posted June 3, 2017 at 10:46 am | Permalink

    I was impressed with Obama’s staying above the fray and leaving this sort of nonsense for his surrogates to handle.

    This First Family’s reaction has been over the top in my opinion. After listening to Sam Harris’ podcast interview with Timothy Snyder I find myself rooting Griffin on and wanting her to fight back. I don’t think it should be normal for people in power to react this way to individuals.

  9. Larry Smith
    Posted June 3, 2017 at 10:48 am | Permalink

    I think this was simply an ill-conceived stunt, and Griffin got burned. It sounds like she was caught up in the moment of the photo shoot, and maybe pushed into it a bit by the photographer.

    That being said, I can’t see how she is the victim. As Grania wrote, Griffin crossed the line and her employer (CNN) fired her. This is hardly censorship, as Griffin’s lawyer can be heard to claim in the video.

    And to trot out the “old white guys” line here is, as the Donald would say, sad. And what was that with “he broke me” at the beginning of the video? Trump broke her? Jesus, Kathy, you’ve got more cojones than that.

    Where is her publicist in all this? Other comedians have done this same thing before (Gilbert Gottfried was fired by Aflac for some similar line-crossing), and over time they can come back. (Sorry, Michael Richards!) Own up to it, lighten the mood a bit, and it will blow over someday. Maybe.

    Finally, if at least she said “Yeah, I did it, and here’s why,” listing everything she finds odious about Trump, she could at least have gone out in a blaze of glory. Think of Sinead O’Connor tearing up the Pope’s picture on SNL – I still get chills remembering that electrifying moment.

    Sorry for rambling…

    • Posted June 3, 2017 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

      I agree, and good point about the missed “blaze of glory”.

    • eric
      Posted June 3, 2017 at 8:26 pm | Permalink

      I think this was simply an ill-conceived stunt

      Me too. But even if CNN didn’t have a problem with the gesture per se, I don’t buy her ‘old white guys’ thing. What happened here is an employer fired a comedian for being so unfunny as to lower ratings rather than raise them. Seems perfectly reasonable to me.

    • Les Faby
      Posted June 4, 2017 at 11:11 am | Permalink

      I was appalled when Sinead O’Connor tore up a picture of the Pope. Many years later I found out she had been forced to live in the Magdalene Laundries run by the church. The link has an excellent explanation of why she did what she did and how her explanations were ignored.
      The church’s actions in Ireland caught up with it. The prime minister(taoiseach) asked the Vatican Ambassador for an accounting of church child abuse and after 3 years of waiting, told him to leave the country. The next prime minister will be Leo Varadkar, a gay ethnically Indian man. Cleric objections fall on deaf ears because they have no moral authority.

  10. Posted June 3, 2017 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    CNN had no choice but to fire her. Three death threats are likely not coming from young Hispanic women, and I would consider death threats bullying, and probably more negative attention than she is used to, so the break down is somewhat understandable. While I’m sure pretty much all of those threats are coming from RedHats, the age range is probably more diverse. I don’t think the use of the “old white guys” canard is necessary, though not entirely inaccurate. Gottfried still has work, Milo got a new show, Griffith will probably find another bit part. While the photo shoot was in bad taste for CNN, there are other venues where it would be more acceptable simply because it’s controversial and would likely not have generated the same boring outrage that seems to dominate our pathetic easily bruised society. If​they made the head more realistic, I might even try to get it on a T-Shirt to piss off my in-laws at Xmas dinner. I say ho-hum, it’ll be forgotten next week, Griffith is upset because people are threatening to kill her over a stupid stunt, which isn’t a fun time for anyone so I can ignore the “old white dudes” comment because it was uttered in duress, not as the thesis in an article about why the patriarchy is suppressing her freedom of speech. As a fledgling member of the Old White Men tribe, I call her a perpetrator of bad taste, but a victim of outrage and death threats. I won’t judge her response ultimately until the affair has blown over and she has had time to process without a bunch of RedHatted gun nuts threatening to put her in the ground.

  11. Randy schenck
    Posted June 3, 2017 at 10:54 am | Permalink

    To my knowledge, her employment with CNN is a once a year thing covering new years. So losing a gig is not like losing a full time job in any way. People must know that the right will pile on big time with something like this because they don’t get the chance often. Remember the email thing with Clinton. Only in America do we see such a big over-reaction. Trump, as president, is so far, getting away with much more serious and distasteful actions because by now, it is almost considered normal for him. Right now Bill Maher is taking lots of heat for what he said over on HBO. Some are calling for him to be fired…we will see?

  12. nicky
    Posted June 3, 2017 at 11:07 am | Permalink

    “The cat did it!’
    “The dog is right, I did it. And you want to know why? Because screw you, that’s why”.

    (can’t find the picture anymore, but I’m sure the text is about literal).

  13. Travis
    Posted June 3, 2017 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    She apologized and then backed away from her apology and played victim, and said she will continue to mock Trump (nothing wrong here, but the implication that she did nothing wrong despite having apologized…). So she was insincere in her apology and deserves no sympathy imo.

  14. Roger
    Posted June 3, 2017 at 11:20 am | Permalink

    It’s just locker room comedy. It’s what comedians do in the locker rooms. Nobody should have a problem with locker room comedy.

    • Brian salkas
      Posted June 3, 2017 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

      Yeah true, I get what you are saying here. If Trump can say ridiculous (and threatening) things and attribute them to “locker room banter”, then why can’t the things that Kathy Griffen did be dismissed just as easily. I think this “two wrongs makes a who-cares” argument is going to get us nowhere in the end, but I see the point you are making.

      as I side note, as a free speech advocate, I think we should be more concerned about trump than any regressive leftists on college campuses (although that is a problem as well).

  15. Randy schenck
    Posted June 3, 2017 at 11:40 am | Permalink

    Another thing I would mention – Trump’s family was suppose to be so upset with this, apparently all of them saw it, grand kids and all. Kind of like going to a car wreck. I don’t recall any of them upset when daddy trump talked about pussy grabbing on the bus.

  16. Ullrich Fischer
    Posted June 3, 2017 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

    Kathy is both perp. and victim. She did cross a line with that image, but on the other hand all those alt-right “entertainers” (think Ted Nugent) who made pretty graphic threats on the life of Obama and his family still have their careers and while there was comparable (equally justified) outrage, it did not their careers. Kathy, on the other hand is being dropped like a hot potato by the entire political spectrum. Not, IMHO, equal treatment for comparable offense. Nugent and his ilk never did apologize. At least Kathy did that.

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted June 3, 2017 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

      The only thing that could apologize for Ted Nugent is g*d and since he does not exist?

  17. Ullrich Fischer
    Posted June 3, 2017 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

    My initial thoughts on Griffin-gate 🙂

    While it isn’t hard to spin her video as a threat of violence against Trump, considering all the equally horrific and actually never apologized for threats posted by “entertainers” in the Tea Party camp (eg Ted Nugent), her apology should be accepted and her career should definitely not be adversely affected. Unlike Ted and his fans, she is not in the habit of walking around with an arsenal of guns so is even less credible a threat than Ted claims to be.

  18. Torbjörn Larsson
    Posted June 3, 2017 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

    Griffin is a perpetrator, of course, but she is also obviously a victim of bullying (death threats). I believe that she also claims that it is the first time a president and his family has reacted publicly to comedy taunts. But at least as far as Trump goes he has vehemently attacked for example Saturday Night Life before.

    I do not care much for her “comedy”, since it is tantamount to a death threat. Nor do I care for her accusations of bigotry however factual or experienced truth, they add little clarity.

    • Torbjörn Larsson
      Posted June 3, 2017 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

      Added: I read in the comments that this type of “comedy” is part US culture, however ill advised, which I did not know. (It turns my stomach, so I guess it is a cultural – not biological – “taboo” at play.) I also read that reactions towards Griffin is different from when men has done this. In so much I can agree with her claims of bigotry.

      But I still do not see why that would be any kind of moral support for her own act.

      • Randall Schenck
        Posted June 3, 2017 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

        I would not call it part of U.S. culture. There are certainly certain areas of comedy that are very crude but that does not make it in the public at large. Also, you can get away with much more verbally than you can visually and this one was visually over the line. There is also the generational differences to consider as well. What goes for the younger ones does not often make it in the older world. One thing you can always bet on, they will make way too big a deal out of it.

        • Torbjörn Larsson
          Posted June 5, 2017 at 6:17 am | Permalink

          Thanks! I should have realized the small public situation, which may append even to popular humorists. For a famous example, Monthy Python’s humor has a certain threshold of familiarity that I am sure acted against it at times as well as for it (“membership” reward) at others.

          Generational humor can be an issue, but most of the time you get – sometimes too much – familiar with it, so it is more unlikely.

  19. Posted June 3, 2017 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

    It is illegal to threaten POTUS or the First Family. It has always been my opinion that people doing such things should receive a warning visit from the Secret Service. Repeat offenders should be prosecuted. Threatening the life or health of the President of the United States, even in joke or comedy, is NOT free speech.

    • Adam M.
      Posted June 3, 2017 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

      The law should apply equally to everyone, including the president. True threats are illegal no matter whom they’re aimed against, but jokes are and should be legal, even if they’re in bad taste and about the president. Otherwise we end up with those crappy laws like in Thailand or Turkey where people can be imprisoned for insulting the king/president.

    • Craw
      Posted June 3, 2017 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

      It was not a threat. That is an absurd claim. It was an unpleasant bit of cultural appropriation from ISIS, an example of deranged sensibilities, a low point from a snide woman whose career is filled with low points, but it was not a threat.

      • Posted June 3, 2017 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

        “It was not a threat. That is an absurd claim.”

        I agree, but I’m not surprised the regressive left might see it that way, they consider dickish comments towards women like “you need to get laid” rape threats.

        • Diane G.
          Posted June 4, 2017 at 1:39 am | Permalink

          I thought it was mostly reaction on the right that was going overboard?

          • Diane G.
            Posted June 6, 2017 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

            In this particular case, I mean…

  20. Ken Kukec
    Posted June 3, 2017 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

    The dog that didn’t bark here is the right-wing free-speech arrivistes who get all up in arms when one of their own provocateurs like Milo gets silenced. (And where were they when Stephen Colbert was threatened with FCC sanctions for making an off-color Donald Trump joke, or when it was disclosed that Trump urged James Comey to jail reporters who printed info from leakers?)

    Buncha fair-weather First Amendment fans, most of ’em.

    • Randy schenck
      Posted June 3, 2017 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

      It all fits in with the right wing middle name – Hypocrite

  21. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted June 3, 2017 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

    Among other things, Griffin’s photo was totally not funny- it was just naked vulgar hostility with no redeeming humor value. And there is no signaling that this is tongue in cheek. Nor any point made beyond raw disdain for the Don.

    Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus with cannibalism, decapitation, etc. is rarely performed these days for obvious reasons, but like Stephen Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd (more cannibalism) is genuinely funny in a macabre gallows-humor sort of way.

    Closer to home, the Onion article about Sean Hannity is hilarious….IF you are familiar with the “Alien” movie franchise. Now, I can see someone who hasn’t seen or heard about the Alien movies thinking this parody article is disturbing or gross. (My guess is that Sean Hannity has no familiarity with these films, and to date no one has explained the reference to him.) But if you are, it’s not only uproarious, it also has a serious political point behind it.

  22. Posted June 3, 2017 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

    If you pull a stunt like that, you don’t get to play the victim afterwards. Had she a sensible goal with the humor she would have stood her ground, and accepted the sacking and the condemnation.

    Bill Maher said the idea is to push the audience across a boundary, and then have them realize later that it was right. I don’t how Griffin’s intent would stack up with that. But I shouldn’t mention that idea, because Maher said the n word last might and now we all need to decide if he’s a racist.

    • Randy schenck
      Posted June 3, 2017 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

      I can understand how Maher said it. The guy from Nebraska kind of fed him a line, something about getting out into the fields. Maher then responded with, I am the house N—- here. So now he is the racist of the week.

      • Stephen Barnard
        Posted June 3, 2017 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

        It’s faux outrage. The regressive left, led by PuffHo, hates Maher because the criticises Islam.

  23. Craw
    Posted June 3, 2017 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

    Not just *old* white guys. She blames Barron too. This after boasting in 2016 that she was going after Barron!

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted June 3, 2017 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

      I say leave presidential kids outta the fray — at least while they’re minors (and even as adults, unless they thrust themselves into the spotlight).

      Anyway, poor Barron’s gonna have enough to live down, what with his father’s name supplanting “Benedict Arnold” in the pantheon of American villains.

    • Filippo
      Posted June 4, 2017 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

      That is beyond the pale. Was CNN okay with going after Barron? Leave him ALONE! Does she have a kid?

  24. Posted June 3, 2017 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

    I wasn’t particularly bothered by what Kathy did. Perhaps it’s because Trump is essentially murdering me with his healthcare plan, so I see a mock death as him getting off easy.

    • Randy schenck
      Posted June 3, 2017 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

      Speaking of the healthcare issue, I don’t know if it has been mentioned on this site but one thing the folks from other countries might not know — At 65 in this country you get your first and likely only reasonable health care insurance, call Medicare. It costs roughly $100 maybe $110 a month. This is very cheap for relatively good medical insurance. All younger than 65 are on your own, unless your employer provides something and it will be very expensive. On your own obtaining insurance is beyond expensive. For some, impossible.

  25. Posted June 3, 2017 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

    “If a right-wing comedian (is there such a thing in the US?) had done the same with a severed prop head of Barack Obama there would have been nation-wide outrage and op eds about systemic racism, charges of white supremacy and doubtless, demands that the perpetrator lose their job. That’s guaranteed.”

    Perhaps but we saw the things Ted Nugent said, including implied threats to murder Obama if he was re-elected in 2012 being excused by Trump, and Nugent being invited to, and hosted in the Trump white house.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted June 3, 2017 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

      Just imagine what the right-wing media would’ve done if Barrack Obama had refused Bill O’Reilly’s invitation to say a bad word about Putin on Super Bowl Sunday — and if Obama had invited the Russian foreign minister and ambassador to yuk it up in The Oval while sharing secret Israeli intelligence and telling them he’d sacked James Comey to take the heat off of him and the Kremlin.

      They’d be doing much worse than carrying around his head in effigy.

  26. Posted June 3, 2017 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

    American humor comes from all over the world. We are a nation of immigrants. The main problem is that she went too far. Had it been done by John Oliver, Bill Maher or Stephen Colbert, the negative reaction would have taken place, but not quite as vitriolic as the response to this woman.

    • Rita
      Posted June 3, 2017 at 7:52 pm | Permalink

      I disagree, if any of those you mentioned had done that, it would have been equally repugnant.

  27. Tim Harris
    Posted June 3, 2017 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

    I have very small sympathy for Griffin. Her action was disgusting in itself, and it should have been obvious to anyone with a modicum of good sense that it would be gleefully seized on by the right and used as a stick to beat the ‘left’ – and to consign all those nooses and ‘strange fruit’ hanging from southern trees of Obama’s time, not to mention such as Nugent’s remarks, to oblivion in a satisfying mushroom cloud of outrage.

  28. barb
    Posted June 4, 2017 at 12:01 am | Permalink

    For the record, the bloody head was not supposed to represent decapitation. According to Griffin’s lawyer, it was a parody of Trump’s crude comment about Megan Kelly – “she had blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever.”

    The blood was supposed to be coming from the eyes of the Trump mask. (I don’t know where Griffin and the photog considered the “wherever” to be.)

    That certainly wasn’t obvious to the viewer. The thing looked like a bloody decapitated head, especially the way Griffin held it, like a scalp. The outrage was completely foreseeable.

    I actually think the concept could have been funny with a different execution: visualize a full-body cartoon drawing of Trump, fist in the air, denouncing obstructionist Democrats or the fake-news media.

    Now imagine modestly-sized streams of red spurting from his eyes, and if you want, also from wherever a man’s wherever is. I’d start the red streams an inch or two away from the eyes so it looks as ungory as possible – more Wile E. Coyote than realistic.

    Add the same caption Griffin used,”There was blood coming out of his eyes, blood coming out of his wherever.” I think I’d laugh at that.

  29. watson
    Posted June 4, 2017 at 6:51 am | Permalink

    Kathy Griffin’s career as a comedian has been defined by her style, which is to shock and push things to the very limit of what can be heard without discomfort. Just like Bill Maher’s recent n-word incident, comedians sometimes go too far. Kathy thought she was being edgy and clever, and it blew up in her face. That could happen to anyone who feels successful enough to act out with impunity. What matters is what they do next. She, like so many of the affluent and privileged in today’s life is mean and unfair culture, chose to blame something that doesn’t exist for her. Bullied? Right. Oppressed by men? Right. As a woman, I find that a cheap, childish way to offer an expected but insincere apology. Does she really think it was wrong? No. Does she secretly think she did something memorable and clever? Probably. I believe in free speech and wouldn’t censor anything, but with free speech comes the responsibility to handle public ridicule if you say something stupid.

  30. Posted June 4, 2017 at 7:24 am | Permalink

    Re the comparison with Obama; My dad used to say “Two wrongs don’t make a right”.

    I understand that it has become very fashionable to dump on Trump at every opportunity (with ample good reason) and she probably thought she was making a statement that would be well received, but what she did was very over the top.
    …and Trump came out smelling like roses on this. She actually did him a favour. He gets to be the victim. Her tearful press conference was pathetic. A simple, “I’m sorry that was distasteful and uncalled for”, would have been enough. Saying that he “broke her” just added to his victory.

    “In my opinion, if your very public behaviour is such that your employer no longer wishes to tolerate you, that is not censorship.”
    Actually it is. She made a statement (regardless of how crude, crass or disgusting it was) and was severely punished as a result. This is exactly censorship. It isn’t like she was refused an opportunity to speak at some Conservative campus….She lost her job. Her statement wasn’t racist, homophobic or hateful of any social group. She was making a statement about an individual. It was extremely distasteful but censure or distancing from her action by her employer should have been sufficient.

  31. BJ
    Posted June 4, 2017 at 9:15 am | Permalink

    You know, if the left wants to keep the moral high ground, their answer every time they do something reprehensible can’t be, “but they did it first,” like a child trying to get out of being taken to task.

    • Tim
      Posted June 4, 2017 at 8:46 pm | Permalink


  32. Matt Foley
    Posted June 6, 2017 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

    It was offensive. Sponsors don’t want to lose customers so they had no choice but to fire her.

    It was also accurate. Trump DID talk about Megyn Kelly’s blood. Trump IS a bully. Trump IS a liar.

    It served to highlight the hypocrisy of Trump supporters. When she tells a tasteless joke using a sight gag they get offended. But when Trump says offensive and cruel things NOT AS A JOKE they aren’t offended, in fact, they admire him for “telling it like it is” and “speaking his mind.”

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