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Tuesday
May302017

Kathy Griffin apologizes for beheaded Trump photo: 'I crossed the line'

Tasia Wells/WireImage via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Comedian Kathy Griffin has apologized for a photo of herself holding what appears to be a bloody, decapitated fake head of President Trump, despite sweeping bi-partisan disapproval of the image.

The photo, taken by celebrity photographer Tyler Shields, was posted by Griffin and Shields Tuesday to their social media accounts.

"I caption this 'there was blood coming out of his eyes, blood coming out of his ... wherever,'" Griffin tweeted, referring to an exchange between Donald Trump and former Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly during the primary season.

But in an attempt to appease those who were offended by the image, the controversial comedienne then tweeted, "OBVIOUSLY, I do not condone ANY violence by my fans or others to anyone, ever! I'm merely mocking the Mocker in Chief."

That did little to appease her critics, prompting Griffin to tweet a video of herself apologizing.

"Hey everybody, it's me, Kathy Griffin," she says in the video. "I sincerely apologize. I am just now seeing the reaction to these images. I'm a comic. I crossed the line. I move the line. Then I cross 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. Taking down the image. I am going to ask the photographer to take down the image. And I beg for your forgiveness. I went too far. I made a mistake and I was wrong."

 

 

But the image caught the attention of the U.S. Secret Service. Initially, the federal law enforcement agency did not directly cite the image in any of its tweets, but in response to Twitter users tweeting the image at its account, the Secret Service tweeted Tuesday afternoon, "On it! @SecretService has a robust protective intelligence division that monitors open source reporting & social media to evaluate threats."

And an hour later, the agency tweeted, "Threats made against @SecretService protectees receive the highest priority of all of our investigations. #ProtectionNeverRests."

But later in the evening, the Secret Service said in a statement, addressing the controversy, "The U.S. Secret Service has a critical mission. It is always unfortunate when people make statements that could be perceived as threats. We don't have the luxury of knowing a person's intent. Each alleged or perceived threat has to be investigated thoroughly which taxes Secret Service manpower and resources that could be utilized elsewhere."

 

 

 

 

And an hour later, the agency tweeted, "Threats made against @SecretService protectees receive the highest priority of all of our investigations. #ProtectionNeverRests."

The image did not sit well with the president's son, Donald Trump, Jr., who tweeted, "Disgusting but not surprising. This is the left today. They consider this acceptable. Imagine a conservative did this to Obama as POTUS?"

 

 

Condemnation of the image was widespread.

Former Republican presidential candidate and former governor of Massachusetts Mitt Romney, tweeted, "Our politics have become too base, too low, & too vulgar, but Kathy Griffin's post descends into an even more repugnant & vile territory."

 

 

Paul Babeu, a Republican and former sheriff of Pinal County, Arizona, tweeted, "Inciting violence/murder of @POTUS is a crime. Imagine liberal outrage if conservative held up bloodied decapitated head of Obama?"

 

 

Former Republican congressman Trey Radel drew a comparison between the image and ISIS beheadings. "Journalists & soldiers, this is also disgusting display 4 moms, dads, families who have lost loved ones to #ISIS in the most horrific way," tweeted Radel, author of "Democrazy: A True Story of Weird Politics, Money, Madness, and Finger Food."

But some Democrats were also disgusted by the image.

"This is vile and wrong," tweeted Chelsea Clinton. "It is never funny to joke about killing a president."

 

 

Actress Debra Messing tweeted, "It wasn't right when peoplel hung lynched Obama effigies, just as what Kathy Griffin did isn't right now."

 

 

Actress Alyssa Milano tweeted, ".@kathygriffin I'm sorry but that is totally inappropriate and so very offensive. And I have to believe you're smart enough to know better."

 

 

Even Anderson Cooper, who is friends with Griffin and hosts CNN's New Year's Eve special with her, tweeted, "For the record, I am appalled by the photo shoot Kathy Griffin took part in. It is clearly disgusting and completely inappropriate."

And a CNN spokesperson added, "We found what she did disgusting and offensive. We are pleased to see she has apologized and asked that the photos be taken down. We are evaluating New Year’s Eve and have made no decisions at this point."

ABC News has reached out to Shields for comment.

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