Kathy Griffin was fired from her post at CNN earlier today, a direct result of her photoshoot with shock photographer Tyler Shields which captured Griffin holding a fake decapitated head belonging to Donald Trump.
Members of both the left and the right sides of U.S. politics expressed serious discontent and CNN responded with a swift removal of Griffin, the longtime co-host of its New Year’s Eve Live program following the controversial posting with this statement.
“CNN has terminated our agreement with Kathy Griffin to appear on our New Year’s Eve program,” a tweet from the network’s communications department reads.
Many media outlets aren’t publishing the picture but we’re sharing TMZ’s watermarked version with explicit clarity that this is entirely fake:
Kathy Griffin immediately apologized for going “too far” and she described/justified the photo as an “artsy fartsy statement” on Instagram and says she does not condone causing harm to others. Watch Griffin’s apology, broadcast via Instagram, and then keep reading for why Griffin was really fired.
Why What Kathy Griffin Did Was Really Wrong
No matter how much you hold passionate disdain for Donald Trump, you cannot depict his head decapitated. What Griffin did isn’t a crime, so some people’s rally to have her jailed is baseless, but it was exceptionally uncouth and irresponsible. Kathy Griffin gleefully depicted a horrible act of human cruelty.
Hey, Griffin, are you trying to horrify us? Not cool. Demoralize humans? Already done, in real life everyday. Perpetuate cruelty? Please stop.
A horrifying image of Trump’s decapitated head won’t spur social awareness or progress. This image will, however, revisit the ISIS beheading of U.S. journalist James Foley in 2014 which occurred in foreign lands to North Americans, during war, and under rare circumstances. Even though Trump’s decapitated head is fake and designed by Griffin to be in jest, viewing this image will inflict trauma on anybody who remembers Foley and knows they can’t undo the suffering that is endured everyday by civilians in countries like Syria and Afghanistan, and many others.
It’s also in extremely poor taste to make light of a crime so violent as beheading by trying to normalize it with humour. Whether the violence is real, reenacted based on real events, or fiction, when you witness cruelty and empathize with the victim, you experience the trauma vicariously. That’s why witnesses to violence are considered victims too. It is especially traumatizing to witness cruelty when you are powerless to prevent it.
To be clear, Griffin was fired because she exposed us to violence, associated herself with the position of the aggressor (weird move, Kathy), exposed vulnerable children without a broad view of the world to the concept of a beheading, and never-minded the people who remain traumatized by this particularly gruesome form of violence, like James Foley’s family.
That’s why Kathy Griffin was fired.