Kathy Griffin Holds Decapitated Donald Trump in Photoshoot: Too Far for Publicity Stunt?

Kathy Griffin Holds Decapitated Donald Trump in Photoshoot: Too Far for Publicity Stunt?

At what point do we say something is too far? My opinion is that using photography as a medium to gain fame, be it good or bad, isn’t a new thing. But as time goes on, seemingly, these things are lacking in taste more and more.

Kathy Griffin recently faced a large backlash for a photoshoot that showed her holding Donald Trump's decapitated head. The old saying "there’s no such thing as bad publicity" seems to be a potential reason for doing something like this. The photographer, Tyler Shields, likely knew it’d go viral, which would spread his name everywhere; even if it’s in bad taste, people are still hearing his name. Personally, I’d stay away from something that goes quite this far with it. In the past, depicting something such as murdering a president even in “acting” was considered a threat and would garner a visit from the FBI, potentially with criminal charges. Now, with the Internet being what it is, people seem to get more brazen.

If someone didn’t like the current president and made a “clown nose” on an image in poking fun, ok sure, whatever. But heinous violence? Especially for a man with children, this is, in my opinion, super tacky. How would you like to have to explain that to your children when they asked what the deal was?

And for Kathy Griffin, is doing what she did, then apologizing somehow going to make it go away? Would she have apologized on her own based on her own morality if the Internet hadn’t flamed her for it? If so, why do it in the first place? If knowing doing something like that causes a firestorm, then apologizing (knowing it doesn't do any good) seems like that was the plan all along, a tacky publicity stunt to try to not become irrelevant in her own industry. Regardless of one’s political opinion, I don’t feel things should ever go this far.

What do you think? Is it worth it to participate in something like this for the publicity, or should morality come into play? And should her apology mean something?

Image source: Tyler Shields (uncensored image is displayed here)

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106 Comments

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Simon Patterson's picture

Well she's got herself real international fame now. In a few months' time, most of us will have forgotten why she had her 15 minutes of fame outside the US, but if she pops up on our screens, we'll likely think "there's a familiar face, I don't remember hearing her speak before, I wonder what she has to say?" That kind of exposure across the world is priceless.

LA M's picture

I just don't think religion or politics are well served on this site...in any capacity..sheesh.

Jacques Cornell's picture

Well, serving religion or politics is not the job of this site. I think what you meant to say is that this site is not well served by addressing religion or politics. Generally, I agree, but there are many cases where the role of photography in our culture is relevant. Platon's crotch shots of Bill Clinton come to mind as an example, not to mention the educational role of documentary photography.

Jacques Cornell's picture

No better and no worse than the many, many depictions of lynching - utterly unremarked by conservative media - during the Obama administration. Hypocrisy breeds contempt and apathy.

Jacques Cornell's picture

I guess the downvoter thinks lynching images were perfectly appropriate.

Anonymous's picture

Not a good guesser ....

Jacques Cornell's picture

Then explain why this is worse than images of President Obama being lynched, etc. Or, do you just not like my pointing out the hypocrisy of conservative media?

Anonymous's picture

This is not a conversation where you make demands, I have no onus probandi with respect to you.

Jacques Cornell's picture

Ah yes, the pouting 4-year-old reply: "YOU CAN'T MAKE ME!"
Fine, I really have no interest in hearing what you have to say. Bye.

Anonymous's picture

More off topic harassment.

Jacques Cornell's picture

What's off-topic is you calling Anderson Cooper a "fag". And if this is "harassment", why do you keep coming back for more?

Anonymous's picture

Lol.

Anonymous's picture

She's scarier looking than the head, but it was poor art direction. You use a comic, or caricature representation, not something that turns the stomach. Comedienne forgets to be funny: now Anderson Cooper has no fag hag for New Years ... boo hoo.

Jacques Cornell's picture

Klassy. Bigotry and misogyny all at once.

Anonymous's picture

Bigotry is intolerance, of which I offer none. Misogyny is prejudice toward women, and again you fail basic English language comp because I simply judged what any person can see as a clear irony, and did it without without prejudice. (If you think Kathy is a lovely thing then say so.)

Your comment is appreciated for what it offers, as we all need to be reminded that lowest common denominator PC standards are the bane of intellectual endeavor. So thanks. Most glaring is that in your rush to rally PC sensibilities, you seem to not even understand my direct observation; that when comediennes are not funny, they fail. So you fail too.

Jacques Cornell's picture

"fag hag"
I rest my case.

Anonymous's picture

You have to be dense to not understand Griffith & Cooper on New Years. A difference between you and I perhaps is that; I have had gay (and trans) friends and associates for over 40 years, and you seem to have learned (recently?) to be a PC crank and that's that. In the Big City terms that scare the uninitiated are part of the vocabulary, and appreciated for their linguistic/social value, and not determined by PC cranks. Speaking of linguistics, I never pointed out the ad hominem and therefore logically flawed nature of your replies, another matter altogether.

I can't help you, you need to get out more, practice writing for some years, read some books. Good luck.

Jacques Cornell's picture

"you seem to have learned (recently?) to be a PC crank"
Not a good guesser.
Just because you have gay friends doesn't mean you get to use the word "fag" in public without either being perceived as expressing, or actually engendering, animus against gays, just as I, a white guy, don't get to use the N word in public just because I have black friends and neighbors who use the term in private conversations.
You really don't understand how this whole spreading bigotry thing works. Keep saying "fag" in public and then be "shocked" when some bigot attacks one of your gay friends. Hypocrite.

Anonymous's picture

Again with the unlearned ad hominem attacks, goodbye! PS that you are more than notionally friends with your Black neighbors might be reconsidered if you are having language rule difficulties with them, lol.

Jacques Cornell's picture

"Ad hominem: directed against a person rather than the position they are maintaining"
The position you are maintaining is that it's just fine for you to use terms like "fag" in public. I am attacking that as derogatory hate speech that, whether you intend it or not, will encourage in others animus against gays, including your "friends". So, just cut it out.

Jacques Cornell's picture

Do the forum moderators have ANY policy about bigotry and hate speech??? This guy needs a language lesson.

Anonymous's picture

Your off-topic harassment is what is against forum rules here.

marknie's picture

What she did should cost her, her career, period!

Rafal Wegiel's picture

I think people these days simple choose what offends them.... The most common comment I have read about this was that she is promoting violence ...every single day we watch movies, shows, which are full of blood, violence, murders and nobody cares and nobody feels offended ...not to mention other things like video games which are design to have fun by killing people.., again nobody feels offended... not to mentions there is so much known paintings around the world showing beheading people and people actually pay to get into museum to see those art pieces... again nobody feels offended ....I could go on and on about this.... Going back to this image ... I really don't understand why people are freaking out about this ... there is 795 million people worldwide who do not have enough to eat and don't have access to clean water and nobody cares... and the entire nation flip over a picture with some comedian with bloody mask...Seriously...???

Martin Van Londen's picture

It's called freedom of speech/ freedom of expression.

But on the flip side CNN has every right to fire her.

Dallas Dahms's picture

She's famous? Where?

dale clark's picture

Freedom of speech does not mean you have freedom of consequences. I say post all the photos of decapitated Presidents you want. It's your right (with Presidents...one may get a visit from Secret Service). However, companies, employers (in some cases), sponsors, paying public etc have the right to react with what they choose fits in their best interest as well.

Both sides have "goons". Yes, Obama, Bush, etc have had "wack jobs" post worse photos. However, those instances do not have the "consequences" as a public figure or employee of a high profile company.

Do I find it dis-tasteful...sure.....do I get offended? No.

Anonymous's picture

Like it or not, there is no denying the power of an image.

Daniel Godoy's picture

She is a has been comedian desperately trying to get attention, sadly hitting bottom in the attempt; irreverence doesn't mean you have to be cruel and explicit

Ernesto Borges's picture

this is what happen when you get to work with a photographer that the inly thing that he have done in the industry is copy photography work of other famous photographers because he does not have what it takes to get creativity bad rep for this guy

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