There are two answers to this question. The short answer is yes, the beheading of Trump went too far. The long answer is that it’s another comedian making fun of a president, which is nothing new. It’s not that it went too far because anyone did it, it went too far because she’s a celebrity and did it. Kathy has been condemned by The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States. Not only is the VFW condemning her but she has been terminated from appearing on CNN as the host of their New Year’s Eve program. Kathy has since apologized for the photo.
Let’s not forget, people hung and burned effigies of President Obama after he was elected and throughout his presidency. This is what is known as selective outrage, when people ignore wrongs done towards the candidate they don’t want but become enraged when it’s a candidate they support. Although there appears to be more reason to be anti-Trump than anti-Obama, depicting any president in such repulsive manner is wrong.
However, we should remember to differentiate between inciting violence and making a bold statement. Many still hold the view that the comments by President Trump since the beginning of his campaign and well into his presidency have been taunting the public to respond with their own power. Kathy should’ve found a more acceptable way to make her statement, but she was working with a photographer who makes bold and provocative statements.
Tyler Shields, the artist who photographed Kathy holding the beheaded Trump mask, is known for his edgy photoshoots. Shields said that “some people look at it and they love it. Some people look at it and they hate it… I understand there are going to be people that hate this. It’s a very touchy subject… but this is not real. We didn’t kill anybody nor do I feel anybody should be killed. It’s no different from a movie. It just happens to be a still image.”
In an interview with Entertainment Tonight, the comedian Jim Carrey said “I think it is the job of a comedian to cross the line at all times. If you step out into the spotlight and you’re doing the crazy things that [Trump is] doing,” Carrey continued, “we’re the last line of defense. And really, the comedians are the last voice of truth in this whole thing.”
This has been a reoccurring theme in Trump’s presidency. News networks must take a serious account of the actions of the president, but this president thrives when he is taken serious all the time because he avoids clear responses to questions. Comedians have been able to do what news networks wish they could do, skip the BS and tell the public what’s really happening. Kathy Griffin tried to make a good statement with her photoshoot, but it was too provocative for the public.