Examine the tawdry life and times of Kathy Griffin and the surprising thing isn’t that she posed with a bloody mask photo of Donald Trump but that it has taken her this long to ignite career-ending outrage.
Griffin has been stooping to new lows in an effort to provoke, for a long while now. It’s ironic that her ceaseless quest to shock and to horrify— gaining maximum publicity as she did so—has ended with the media she desperately chased for so long sealing her fate in such determined and deserved style.
The backlash against Griffin is intensifying. Theaters in New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania and a casino in New Mexico have canceled her shows because of the controversy. Earlier this week, CNN said Griffin would no longer co-host its live New Year’s Eve special from Times Square, a gig she’d had for more than a decade.
Griffin commented during the photo shoot in which she held up a bloody head resembling Donald Trump—as first revealed by TMZ—“Tyler [Shields, the photographer] and I are not afraid to do images that make noise.” If making noise was Griffin’s aim, Severed Donald was Metallica meets Iron Maiden amplified to the point of one million.
The noise you now hear however is the ear-splitting bipartisan condemnation of her latest horrible gimmick. Chelsea Clinton tweeted: “This is vile and wrong. It is never funny to joke about killing a president” while Mitt Romney declared “our politics have become too base, too low, & too vulgar but Kathy Griffin’s post descends into an even more repugnant & vile territory.”
Griffin’s casual, half-hearted sounding apology stating that, “I sincerely apologize… it wasn’t funny, I get it…. I went too far” only compounded the problem.
Griffin and her snapper sidekick have previous infamy. In 2014 she posed naked for a photoshoot with Shields. She likes publicly posing naked, even doing the Ice Bucket Challenge entirely in her birthday suit, talking to the camera, legs splayed, proclaiming that ‘I will do anything for the cause.”
Even the Mail Online grew exasperated with her clothes-shedding stunts, headlining one article: “Does she ever keep her clothes on? Kathy Griffin strips down to her underwear AGAIN as she prepares to go on Jay Leno.”
Along the way there were the high-profile gaffes (her horrible comments about Bristol Palin’s weight; non-consensually grabbed the crotch of recently out, gay man Anderson Cooper at New Years Eve in Times Square).
But how did she get away with such consistently awful attention-seeking? Because we enabled her effrontery. There were no limits to the depths of coarseness that Griffin would sink and yet fools that we are, we sucked it up, anticipating her next move to display the intended reaction.
The goodwill towards Griffin was typified by Lena Dunham telling The Hollywood Reporter in 2015: “It bums me out that someone like Kathy Griffin was relegated to Fashion Police.”
Let’s talk about Fashion Police. Griffin took over co-hosting the E! TV celebrity fashion TV series from the late Joan Rivers, only to wind up presenting it for just seven episodes. When she took over the show, Melissa Rivers, Joan Rivers’ daughter, gave her a public blessing to replace her mother telling Griffin, “I truly feel you are the only person my mom would bless for this throne.”
Melissa Rivers delivered a very different verdict after Griffin’s Fashion Police fiasco ended that encapsulated her addiction to alienation: “She s**t on my mother’s legacy.”
Griffin’s checkered love life, like all of her other escapades, is played out for all to witness. Griffin has a penchant for Z-List boytoys including her current boyfriend marketing exec Randy Bick and Old Spice model Isaiah Mustafa.
As for her more well-known suitors, you may have forgotten the debacle involving Griffin’s romance with Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak. Griffin later confirmed to anybody who would care to listen that the relationship was not consummated except, of course, (or should I say of coarse), she proffered this detail in true Griffin style: “I never f***ed him or anything.” Thanks for that, Kathy.
Wozniak wasn’t the only celebrity with whom things ended badly for Griffin. For one so keen on publicity, you’d think she would tread more carefully amongst her tribe but she’s had more celebrity fallouts than the National Enquirer.
Griffin has told singer Demi Lovato to ‘calm the f*** down,’ called actors Leonardo DiCaprio and Ashton Kutcher both a ‘d-bag’ for not being friendlier, and written indiscreetly about calling future British King Prince Charles “Chuck” during a visit with Joan Rivers to Windsor Castle in 2011.
Griffin has also flashed on stage, posed as an Egyptian goddess reclining atop greased-up hunks and snogged a puppet on live television.
I’ll stop there. But it’s worth noting that there seems to be no corner that Griffin’s crassness cannot reach, no stone left unturned in her quest to shock and outrage. Until this week we sat, waited and lapped it up.
The sad thing is that Griffin started out genuinely funny. Who can forget her hilarious performance as Sally Weaver on Seinfeld? (Predictably things between her and Jerry Seinfeld were to end badly when she fessed up that Jerry Seinfeld had given her “instant diarrhea”.)
But for now, the Kathy Griffin joke is over. And lately it really wasn’t funny.