Kathy Griffin on Trump: 'He broke me'

Just two days after her abject apology for holding up the president’s severed head, Kathy Griffin hired an attorney to help her fight “bullying” by the Trump family. Griffin’s new attorney announced she had been hired on Twitter:

Griffin’s press conference took place Friday morning. Her attorney Lisa Bloom said, “As a result of the First Family’s bullying of her and of those she does business with, Kathy has been vilified. She has been receiving a lot of death threats…The Secret Service has reached out to her.” She added, “This has been a living nightmare for Kathy.” Bloom then went on to compare Griffin to the Russian punk band Pussy Riot, which was imprisoned after criticizing Putin.

As for Griffin herself, she said her apology still stands but she thinks is was inappropriate for the President and his family to respond to her personally. “What’s happening to me has never happened ever in the history of this country,” Griffin said. She continued, “A sitting President of the United States and his grown children and the First Lady are personally, I feel, personally trying to ruin my life forever.”

Griffin then made some jokes about Trump and his hair. “I am teasing the President because this is America and you shouldn’t have to die for it. The death threats that I’m getting are constant and they are detailed and they are serious and they are specific,” Griffin said.

Later, in response to a question, she said, “I don’t think I will have a career after this. I’m going to be honest, he broke me. He broke me. He broke me.” At that point, she began crying and claimed the First Family was using their son to make the situation worse for her.

There are really two issues here which are being braided together by Griffin and her attorney. First, Griffin absolutely has the right to speak or create images including ones showing the president’s severed head. I don’t think she should be put in prison for that unless it constitutes a genuine threat (which this clearly did not).

But of course, Griffin isn’t just defending her right to free speech. She’s arguing she has a right to continue making a living as a comedian, regardless of what she does. But that’s not how it works in any profession. Each venue or event gets to decide if they want Kathy Griffin to appear and make jokes for their audience. If she has a good routine and word spreads that she’s funny, she gets more job offers. If she’s terrible or decides to make herself radioactive with a stunt involving a bloody head, she’ll be out of a job.

Griffin and her attorney are leaning heavily on the idea that Trump (and Melania) are responsible for her bad situation. But Griffin was getting pushback from people for hours before her apology. In fact, she deleted two tweets doubling down and put out the apology instead once it became clear just how negative the reaction was. Trump and the First Lady certainly hammered Griffin for frightening their son, but they didn’t lead that charge. It was already happening without their input.

Put it this way, does anyone believe CNN fired Griffin because of Trump’s tweet or was it because her actions were indefensible? Does anyone think Sen. Al Franken canceled his appearance with Griffin because he’s sensitive to Trump’s feelings? Or is it because he doesn’t want to be associated with her brand of humor? The point is that most of the damage here is Griffin’s doing and would be happening to her even if the First Family had remained silent.

If you watch her statement, Griffin seems to be genuinely freaked out by what has happened to her. I’m sure some will conclude it’s all part of the act, but I don’t think she’s a good enough actress to fake it. This stunt really got away from her and she is not wrong to think she is in danger of losing whatever is left of her career. The market will decide her fate and I’m fine with that. As for the people making death threats over this, I wonder how many of them realize they’re acting like the jihadists who want to kill people over cartoons?