Updates to the story can be found below.
Always a provocateur, comedienne Kathy Griffin has found her way back in the headlines, this time for a controversial shoot with photographer Tyler Shields. The images depict Griffin holding what appears to be the severed, bloody head of Donald Trump.
TMZ got the exclusive on the photo shoot, as well as behind-the-scenes video.
Griffin has never made it a secret that she despises President* Trump, and the recent photo shoot voices her disapproving feelings quite boldly. The final images are themselves reminiscent of propaganda videos used by extremist Muslim groups like ISIS and Al-Qaeda.
But did she go too far this time?
TMZ has asked that exact question, and people overwhelmingly think she has. According to the site’s poll, at the time of this reporting, 76% of respondents think she went “too far,” while 24% think the shoot was “fair game.”
Griffin, though, is no stranger to pushing boundaries.
“This is fake blood, just so you know,” she says in the TMZ video. “I won’t give away what we’re doing, but Tyler and I are not afraid to do images that make noise. He also lights me to the point where I look about 15. First I’m an artist, but really it’s good lighting.”
Also in the video, Griffin jokes with Sields that the pair will have to move to Mexico following the photos’ release.
“We have to move to Mexico today,” she says. “Because we’re going to go to prison. Federal prison. … We’re not surviving this.”
Last October, Griffin released a spoof campaign ad in which she repeatedly told then-candidate Trump to “fuck off.”
Shields is also known to be controversial, his work including a photo of a nude black man hanging a KKK member, shots of Glee‘s Heather Morris in which her face was covered in bruises and images of a $100,000 Birkin bag on fire.
UPDATE, May 30, 5 p.m. PST: Kathy Griffin has since taken to Facebook to issue an apology.
In a video posted to her Facebook page, she says, “I sincerely apologize. I am just now seeing the reaction of these images. I’m a comic. I crossed the line. I moved the line, then I crossed it. I went way too far. The image is too disturbing. I understand how it offends people. It wasn’t funny. I get it. I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my career; I will continue. I ask your forgiveness.”
Griffin then says she’s asked the photographer to take down the image.
Watch Kathy Griffin’s apology video below:
UPDATE, May 31, 11 a.m. PST: Amidst widespread, bipartisan criticism of the image, Kathy Griffin has since been fired from her New Year’s Eve co-hosting job with CNN alongside Anderson Cooper.
Utah-based company Squatty Potty, which has a current ad campaign featuring the comedienne, is also distancing itself from her. “We were shocked and disappointed to learn about the image Ms. Griffin shared today,” Squatty Potty CEO Bobby Edwards remarked in a statement.
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