Kathy Griffin says she became 'unemployable and uninsurable' after posting photo of Trump's severed head
The comedian is ready with 'Kathy Griffin: A Hell of a Story', a part documentary and part comedy special, that documents her ordeal with the Trump administration after the controversy
Comedian and actress Kathy Griffin's life changed after she posted a photo of herself holding "a mask styled to look like the severed, bloody head" of President Donald Trump on multiple social media accounts on May 30, 2017.
Through a feature film called 'Kathy Griffin: A Hell of a Story,' a part documentary and part comedy special which she self-financed, the 58-year-old artist now attempts to tell the story of the controversy from her point of view.
Although she took down the photo from her social media accounts and issued an apology -- that she proceeded to retract later, the fallout from her actions continued, to the point where she lost marketing gigs, got fired by CNN from its New Year's Eve broadcast with Anderson Cooper and had all her tour dates canceled.
At least two senators at that time - Al Franken and Catherine Cortez Masto - distanced themselves from her. While the former disinvited her from a promotional event for his upcoming book, the latter announced that she will donate the $1000 she received from Griffin for her campaign to charity.
While promoting her feature film, Griffin told Associated Press in an interview that just days after becoming the center of backlash and federal investigation, she realized the significance of the events that were unfolding around her. “I kept saying, ‘I think this is an important, historic story,’” Griffin told the outlet. “The President and the Department of Justice shouldn’t make you unemployable and uninsurable."
The investigation launched by the government into whether she was a threat to national security and the president also involved placing her on the no-fly list. She was further subjected to two interrogations under oath by the Secret Service and the U.S. District Attorney's (DA) office.
The probe went on for two months during which the DA's office was ready to charge her if the Secret Service found any evidence of her conspiring to assassinate the POTUS. The charge carried with it a sentence of life in prison.
Since no production team was prepared to document what was going on in her life at the time, Griffin said that she decided to do it on her own, without glam, a support crew or even microphones. As a result, the documentary portions of the film show a bare-faced Griffin. “Like ugly Kathy, no makeup, crying," she said, as most of it was shot on her iPhone.
“You can be as offended by that photo all you want, that doesn’t bother me at all. But I want people to know I didn’t break the law. If you take a photo like that, you didn’t break the law. I didn’t violate the First Amendment in any way. If you take a photo like that, you didn’t violate the First Amendment in any way," she explained, adding that even after years, her unemployment status has not changed. "Look, I made it at Kinkos, OK? I’m still on the D-list."
But why make the film at all? Griffin said that the project was not without an important purpose. “I just want people to know you don’t have to go down. You can take a few punches, but after I kick the bucket, I want somebody to go, ‘You know that crazy red head? They got her but she didn’t go down,'" she said.
Although 'Kathy Griffin: A Hell of a Story' was well-received at South by Southwest, an annual conglomerate of film, interactive media, and music festivals earlier this year leading Fathom Events to agree to show it on July 31 in 700 theaters across the nation, the actress said that she had no idea about the movie's future.
“Now that I’ve traveled the world with this story, I know that there’s a genuine interest in, ‘Who’s this guy, what’s his deal, how does he operate?’” alluding to the international curiosity generated by Trump.