Kathy Griffin is speaking out after receiving backlash for a controversial photo shoot with photographer Tyler Shields, in which she posed with a bloodied replica of President Donald Trump’s head.
On Friday, the 56-year-old comedian and her attorney, Lisa Bloom, addressed the media to “explain the true motivation behind the image, and respond to the bullying from the Trump family she has endured,” Griffin’s rep said in a statement ahead of the press conference.
Bloom first spoke on Griffin’s behalf as she stood beside her, and argued that the former My Life on the D-List star has the “right to publicly parody the president.” Griffin’s lawyer explained that the photo was designed to make fun of Trump’s comments he made about Megyn Kelly when he told CNN during his presidential campaign that she had “blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever.” Bloom added that Griffin “never imagined” that people would see the photo as a “threat of violence against Trump.”
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Griffin then spoke to the press and said the apology she issued on Twitter “absolutely stands,” but she is “not afraid of Donald Trump.”
“He’s a bully,” she said of the president. “I’ve dealt with older, white guys trying to keep me down my whole life, my whole career. I’m a woman in a very male-dominated field. I love what do, I love making people laugh more than anything in the world.”
Griffin admitted that there are some things she would change about the photo shoot. “I feel horrible. I have performed in war zones. The idea that this made people think of this tragedy — people that have been touched by this tragedy is horrifying and it’s horrible,” she insisted. “Trust me, if I could redo the whole thing, I would’ve had a blow up doll and no ketchup.”
“I make mistakes, I’m an out-there comedian, I’m an in-your-face comedian,” she continued. “But I just wanted to say, ‘If you don’t stand up, you get run over.'”
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Griffin also accused the first family of “trying to ruin my life forever,” and claimed that she’s been getting death threats and is under investigation by the Secret Service.
Speaking to one of the cameras, she declared that she had a message for Trump. “The Donald, it’s me, Kathy,” she said. “I’m teasing the president because this is America and you shouldn’t have to die for it.”
Griffin said that even her own mother, Maggie, took issue with the image. “Fox News ain’t got nothing on me. Although, you should know, my mother — who thinks Fox News is real — is not speaking to me because she’s in love with Tucker Carlson,” she claimed, somewhat jokingly. “So, I’m even in trouble with my mother. So, don’t worry, everyone hates me.”
She added, “This president, of all people, is going to come after me. He picked the wrong redhead.”
Upon taking questions from the press, Griffin broke down in tears, admitting that she thinks Trump ruined her career and this happened because she’s a female comic. “I don’t think I’ll have a career after this. I’m going to be honest, he broke me,” she said while crying. “I’m broken.”
“I’m 56 years old, I’m 110 pounds wet,” she quipped through tears. “I’ve had everybody turn on me and I just wanna make people laugh. That’s all I wanna do. So I screwed up.”
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The comic was fired from CNN’s New Year’s Eve special, and when ET’s Kevin Frazier asked if she’d spoken with former co-host Anderson Cooper — who publicly slammed her photo shoot — she broke down in tears and shook her head.
After the photo shoot went public earlier this week, the president tweeted that he was disgusted with the images. “Kathy Griffin should be ashamed of herself,” he wrote. “My children, especially my 11-year old-son, Barron, are having a hard time with this. Sick!”
First lady Melania Trump also commented on the photo controversy. “As a mother, a wife, and a human being, that photo is very disturbing,” she said in a statement. “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.”
In her initial video apology on Twitter, Griffin said “the image is too disturbing.”
“I understand how it offends people. It wasn’t funny. I get it,” she said. “I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my career. I will continue. … I beg for your forgiveness.”
“I’m a comic. I crossed the line,” she continued. “I moved the line, then I crossed it. I went way too far.”
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