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The Photo That Changed Kathy Griffin's Career

March 26, 2018

 

This month, Kathy Griffin appeared on Real Time with Bill Maher to discuss her career after the controversial photo of her holding a fake severed head of Donald Trump was released. Griffin stated that her career was “taken away overnight.” The photo gained her negative notoriety that came in the loss of friends, having her tour cancelled, and being canned from CNN. The bigger issue at hand was she became the center of a federal investigation. 

Griffin said she had a two month federal investigation by two different departments in the Department of Justice, in which she was interrogated and detained about the photo. In addition, Griffin states because of her actions, she was placed on the INTERPOL, which caused issues when she was flying internationally. When flying outside the United States for shows, she said she was detained at every airport. From London, to LAX, to Singapore, she would be detained for an undetermined amount of time and at some airports they would take her devices. 

 


However, though Griffin said she would do things differently, she said she had the ability to take this photo because it was a right to free speech. Though people thought taking a photo like this was illegal, Griffin said she can do this because of the first amendment. She believes that at the minimum, the photo was distasteful. 

Bill Maher called the photo a bad selfie. But he blames the photographer, Tyler Shields, for the photo because photographers, “always want something provocative.” Furthermore, the two discussed the art of comedy and what comedy is meant to be. Maher mentioned that comedy is about going over the lines in order to figure out where those lines are. Griffin elaborated further saying that while comedy is about pushing boundaries, that is the kind of comedy people want and are looking for. At the end, Griffin announced she will be holding two shows on the East Coast. 

There are multiple questions that come from this interview: Is there a blur between art and the protections of the first amendment? Do you feel sympathy towards Griffin for the negative actions that took place in her life due to the photo? How do you feel about Griffin taking advantage of a capitalistic society to run her comedy skits potentially against a president, she faced recently faced a two month investigation for? Is the photographer to blame as Bill Maher mentioned for this photo?

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