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COLUMNISTS

OPED: Griffin’s photo of Trump was offensive, tasteless

Jenice Armstrong
Philadelphia Daily News (TNS)
  • Telling a joke about the 45th president of the United States is one thing.
  • Posing with a fake head covered with mock blood is another.

Regardless of what you think of President Trump’s politics, Kathy Griffin’s crazy-for-clicks stunt is just plain wrong.

FILE - In this Feb. 11, 2017 file photo, comedian Kathy Griffin attends the Clive Davis and The Recording Academy Pre-Grammy Gala in Beverly Hills, Calif. Griffin says she knew her new photo shoot with photographer Tyler Shields would “make noise.” She appears in a photo posted online Tuesday, May 30, 2017, holding what looks like President Donald Trump’s bloody, severed head. Many on Twitter called for the comedian to be jailed. Griffin told photographer Shields in a video on his Twitter page Tuesday that they will have to move to Mexico to avoid federal prison for their latest collaboration. (Photo by Rich Fury/Invision/AP, File)

It’s offensive. It’s horrific. It’s morbid. It’s grotesque. What part of that wacky, out-of-touch brain of hers would make Griffin think that posing with a fake head of the president covered in mock blood was OK? The president’s son, Donald Trump Jr., was absolutely right when he labeled it “disgusting.”

“This is the left today. They consider this acceptable. Imagine (if) a conservative did this to Obama as POTUS?” Donald Trump Jr. tweeted.

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Later Tuesday, Griffin posted a video on Twitter apologizing, saying that she had gone “way too far” with the graphic image and was taking it down. On Wednesday morning, President Trump responded as well, saying the comic should be ashamed.

Earlier, Griffin, who posed for the frighteningly realistic photos taken by photographer Tyler Shields, claimed she was making a statement by “mocking the mocker in chief.”

Um, no. Telling a joke about the 45th president of the United States is one thing. Posing with a fake head covered with mock blood is another. It’s also potentially irresponsible and reckless. You never know what will trigger someone who is mentally unstable or filled with hatred. Passions are high right now. This could cross into dangerous territory. There’s a fine line between comedy and tastelessness and the self-described D-list comedian crossed it big time.

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Be clear: This is not OK. We do not condone what she’s done.

Yes, I know it was just a dummy head that Griffin posed with perhaps in a weak gesture of political satire. She’s done similar things in search of a cheap laugh before. That’s what she does.

In her earlier response, Griffin tweeted that she was trying to play off Trump’s infamously insensitive comments about former Fox news anchor Megyn Kelly, that “there was blood coming out of her where ever.”

This wasn’t the way to do it, though. Griffin’s look-at-me gimmick stomps all over our collective nerves, which have been shattered by too many reports of unthinkable ISIS beheadings and other atrocities. Twitter is popping with tweets now from outraged people on the right likening “libs” to ISIS.

That matters because, if ISIS is the enemy and so are Democrats, then what? As one poster who calls himself “Educating Liberals” tweeted, “Trump is trying to stop ISIS and the Democrats are trying to stop Trump. The Democrats are a national security threat.” The hashtag #kathygriffinhatecrime is a thing now. People on social media are comparing her act to effigies burned of President Obama during his term.

Griffin’s actions are an unnecessary distraction. As a nation, we need to come together to see if our election really was compromised by the Russians as has been claimed. As a nation, we need to put our proverbial heads together to find some sort of solution to our national health care problem so that millions of Americans won’t have to go without. As a nation, we need to stop the scourge of urban violence that’s scarring our cities.

These are bipartisan issues. They should be our focus — not this ridiculous nonsense. Griffin is going to have a hard time living this down and rightfully so. In the past, she’s called herself a D-list celeb. What’s lower than that?

Griffin is about to find out.

— Jenice Armstrong is a columnist for the Philadelphia Daily News. Readers may email her at armstrj@phillynews.com