Warning: The following story contains graphic, violent imagery that may prove offensive to some readers.
Griffin’s lawyer, Lisa Bloom, accompanied her, and both women expressed their cases involving the photo and the aftermath.
According to Bloom, Griffin’s inspirations for the photo were Trump’s Access Hollywood “grab her by the p***y” remarks and his Megyn Kelly “bleed out of wherever” statement.
“It was a parody of Trump’s own sexist remark, taken to an extreme, absurdist visual,” said Bloom to the packed room of waiting reporters. The lawyer went on to say that Griffin never meant the photo as a threat of violence, and would never do anything to harm anybody. As a comedian, all she wants to do is make people laugh, even if it is crossing a line for some.
Bloom focused squarely on Americans’ First Amendment right, and how any artist has the right to create whatever they choose. She also pointed out that this is the first time a sitting president has gone on the attack (along with almost every member of his family).
WATCH BELOW: More moments from the Kathy Griffin press conference
Griffin has been receiving very detailed death threats, and her social media accounts, along with her personal website, have been shut down. She is also under Secret Service investigation at the moment, again for the first time in U.S. history, says Bloom.
The comedian took the mic after Bloom finished her opening statement, and it wasn’t long before Griffin was in tears.
“I’m not afraid of Donald Trump,” she began. “If you don’t stand up, you get run over.”
She went on to say that she believes this is definitely a “woman” thing, and if she were a man Trump wouldn’t have gone so far in punishing her. She claimed that Trump is seeking to end her career, and continued to reiterate her D-list status, and how it was laughable that she’s even considered a threat.
“He broke me,” she said. “I won’t have a career after this.”
Griffin (now famously) posted a photo to social media of her holding a fake bloody severed head, clearly Trump’s. The backlash from both left- and right-wingers was swift and in agreement: the photo was in bad taste, over the line and inappropriate.
Politicians and celebrities of all stripes responded to the photo, and Trump himself tweeted that Griffin should be “ashamed of herself” and that it was having an impact on his son, Barron.
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
News network CNN announced later that it was parting ways with Griffin, and she wouldn’t be participating as co-host of the New Year’s Eve special with Anderson Cooper, as she had in years past. Some of her comedy tour venues cancelled her stops out of protest, and she’s been pulled from various lineups across the United States.
Seeing the backlash, Griffin apologized.
I am sorry. I went too far. I was wrong. pic.twitter.com/LBKvqf9xFB
— Kathy Griffin (@kathygriffin) May 30, 2017
Despite her apology, neither CNN or any of the venues have reneged on their cancellations.
Griffin is a crass, raunchy comedian, well-known for crossing the line, but she has admitted on multiple occasions that she was bullied as a child and still suffers because of it.