At a recent performance in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Sharon Needles — the scary-licious queen that won Season 4 of RuPaul’s Drag Race — dressed like Kathy Griffin and performed a number which recreated the now-infamous photo of Griffin holding up the bloody, decapitated head of U.S. President Donald Trump.
She performed to the song “Heads Will Roll” by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Here’s a video of her performance:
Destroy censorship pic.twitter.com/zfIPOIo9Lp
— Chad O’Connell (@ChadOConnellArt) June 6, 2017
We unequivocally denounce any threats of violence directed towards politicians, activists, artists, journalist, citizens or anybody, really. Nevertheless, Needles has made a bold choice by resurrecting the image that was denounced as “clearly disgusting and completely inappropriate” by Griffin’s gay bestie Anderson Cooper.
You may recall that Griffin predictably apologized for her photo stunt stating:
“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.”
Some social media commenters said that they would have preferred that Griffin stand by her art and use it as a springboard for discussions about how Trump’s policies subject countless people to real-world violence. However, since she did not initially issue any such statement when the photo first surfaced — and considering the fact that her very career was at stake — it makes sense why she apologized.
As a result of the shoot, Griffin says she has been vilified, received death threats, gotten fired from multiple jobs (including hosting CNN’s New Years’ Eve coverage) and has had multiple tour events canceled.
However, since Needles is a much smaller time celebrity (and the drag community thrives on jaw-dropping over-the-top performances), we imagine that Needles will not make any such apology. Her art stands on its own and it will be interesting to see its reception in the LGBTQ community.