It looks like there’s no end to Donald Trump’s war with the media and entertainment industry. If he’s not calling CNN ‘fake news’ or insulting Meryl Streep’s acting (sorry, she’s a goddess), then he’s off Tweeting about their ‘covfefe.’ It often seems like Trump is either overreacting or in the wrong when he’s criticizing the media. This week though, we can safely say he was the victim of a pretty nasty joke. On Tuesday, TMZ published a graphic image of comedian Kathy Griffin holding a bloody severed Trump head. Yeah, it’s not pretty.
The photo did not sit well with pretty much anyone. As you might expect, people were enraged pretty much immediately.
Disgusting but not surprising. This is the left today. They consider this acceptable. Imagine a conservative did this to Obama as POTUS? https://t.co/QdghcbIjS7
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) May 30, 2017
This Kathy Griffin thing is so upsetting and disgusting. Jesus–what is wrong with people today? Have we lost all our humanity?
— Soledad O’Brien (@soledadobrien) May 30, 2017
Even self-proclaimed Trump-haters were having a hard time with the image. Though a lot of people expressed disdain for the president, they felt a line had been crossed by depicting him like that.
I think Trump is a DISASTER as both a President and a human being.
I also think that Kathy Griffin photo is horrible and wrong.
— Mikel Jollett (@Mikel_Jollett) May 30, 2017
HELLO IT IS I THE SPOKESMAN FOR THE MEDIA LEFT HERE TO SAY THE KATHY GRIFFIN THING SUCKS AND… IS BAD. PLEASE EMBED THIS TWEET ON BREITBART
— Luke O’Neil (@lukeoneil47) May 30, 2017
There were also some arguments for Griffin’s freedom of speech. Jim Carrey reportedly told Entertainment Tonight, ‘It’s the job of the comedian to cross the line at all times… the comedians are the last voice of truth in this whole thing.’
Still others noted that though Griffin’s photo was terrible, Donald Trump has been equally offensive, citing his imitation of a disabled reporter and comments he made about Barack Obama. Trump’s predecessor was quite a hot topic because during his time in office, there were several similar instances of his staged death.
The Decency Difference:
Most of us liberals STRONGLY denounced Kathy Griffin.👎
Most trumpers STILL deny trump mocked a disabled reporter.🤔 pic.twitter.com/FaIecC7APb
— BrooklynDad_Defiant! (@mmpadellan) May 31, 2017
Naturally, Melania and Donald expressed their horror at the image. Then on Wednesday the White House released a story that Barron Trump, the president’s 11-year-old son, saw the image on TV and thought it was really his dad. We don’t know if we believe that, but the fact remains that none of us would be okay seeing our fathers’ severed heads.
First Lady Melania Trump issues statement on Kathy Griffin “beheading” photo pic.twitter.com/YrSVo1nrwt
— NBC News (@NBCNews) May 31, 2017
Kathy Griffin should be ashamed of herself. My children, especially my 11 year old son, Barron, are having a hard time with this. Sick!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 31, 2017
Griffin issued an apology later that day, admitting she had ‘crossed the line.’
I am sorry. I went too far. I was wrong. pic.twitter.com/LBKvqf9xFB
— Kathy Griffin (@kathygriffin) May 30, 2017
Unsurprisingly, the debate has continued past the apology. On Thursday, CNN announced that they would not have Griffin back to host their New Year’s Eve special with Anderson Cooper as they had in the past. At least one of the venues where Griffin is supposed to perform next month on her tour has also dropped the comedian.
CNN has terminated our agreement with Kathy Griffin to appear on our New Year’s Eve program.
— CNN Communications (@CNNPR) May 31, 2017
This is just another conflict in the long debate about comedy, political commentary and freedom of speech that definitely doesn’t have a simple answer.