This week’s news headlines were dominated by one person, Kathy Griffin. She made headlines by releasing a photo that was an alleged “joke” of her holding the severed and bloody head of Donald Trump. I say “alleged” joke because most people are still wondering where the punchline of this poorly conceived notion is. It wasn’t a joke, it was her making a political statement. One she thought would make her a hero of the left and get her the attention she obviously craves so much. Apparently, just doing the New Year’s Eve show with Anderson Cooper and making occasional appearances on talk shows wasn’t enough “limelight” for Griffin. She released that photo for one reason and one reason only — to get attention. It was a publicity stunt. It backfired — bigly.
The backlash didn’t just come from the GOP side of the aisle. Indeed, many on the left put the photo and Griffin where it belonged, in the trash heap. Al Franken told Politico that he didn’t want her at his book event that is upcoming in California. Chelsea Clinton tweeted her disgust with Griffin’s attempt to garner the spotlight on herself in such a cheap and distasteful manner. Anderson Cooper released a statement emphasizing his disdain for what she had done. On our own ANX pages, there was commentary that wasn’t exactly supportive of her cause. If anything, the only positive thing that came out of Griffin’s stunt was that many on the left saw it and realized that “yes, there is a line that shouldn’t be crossed — even if “free speech” allows you to.” Or like the old saying goes, “just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.”
I am also reminded of a couple of things my friend and popular progressive essayist Jim Wright says. First, “if we want a better country, be better citizens” and “we either are who we say we are, or we aren’t.” Both are especially true in this case and it seems many on the left had that proverbial lightbulb go off in their head after seeing Griffin’s self-indulgent and self-serving picture.
Griffin did apologize, as she should have. That should have been the end of this. CNN fired her from the New Years host gig and it’s probably a safe bet that invites to be on more talk shows will be few and far between.
Today, unfortunately, Griffin doubled down on her attempt to make it “all about her” and the attention she craves like a child — or washed up comedian who’s phone isn’t exactly ringing off the hook.
Griffin decided to hold a press conference with an attorney — and not just any attorney, but high-profile celebrity ambulance chaser Lisa Bloom. The appearance was a thinly veiled attempt to not only grab the spotlight back but to shamelessly feign being “the victim” here as she accused Trump of “bullying her.”
Before I go any further, allow me to point out to anyone who doesn’t read my work regularly that I am not a Trump supporter in any way. I refuse to “normalize” his Presidency. However, in this case, Trump didn’t do anything wrong here. ALL the blame here goes to Griffin. She is not being bullied. She put the picture out there, exercising her “free speech” and the POTUS, his family and others responded. They responded harshly and quickly, as they should — and as I would as well. I bet you would too.
That isn’t bullying. That is responding to a personal attack. In fact, one could argue that you were the bully in this case — the one that got their butt kicked on the playground. Where I come from when someone attempts to trash another person, that other person has every right to respond and stop your threat. That is comeuppance, not bullying. That is “getting what you deserve.” After your stunt failed, you should have crawled back under the rock you came from and disappeared.
And don’t tell me about “death threats” or other threats towards you while you “bravely” stand there with a lawyer who some would say is more of a publicity junkie than you are. the fact is, you have been an outspoken critic of the POTUS for a long time and I seriously doubt this was the first time for that. I know as just a meager, obscure writer that I get hate mail when I tickle certain feathers. I also will contend that every writer like me experiences the same thing. The threats are part of the business.
If you throw a punch (which the picture was) at someone, you can expect one of two things to happen. One, that the person will fall down and be knocked out. The other is that you will get punched back. In fact, you might get punched, kicked, bitten, have your hair pulled and many other things in retaliation to your punch. That person isn’t a bully, they are responding to your attack — your attempt to bully. They are merely standing up for themselves. He didn’t “spark” anything his supporters said to you — you did.
Sure, some people overreact. Some take it too far. None of that happens, however, unless you throw that first punch. After throwing it, you don’t get to play the victim, even if someone else goes too far in retaliation. What they do may be in ‘the heat of the moment.” What you did was cold and calculated. You threw your punch hoping to knock the other side down. When they didn’t fall and hit back, your only role then is to take it — that’s life, welcome to planet Earth.
Part of the whole “free speech” thing is that it goes both ways. You don’t get to just spout off whatever you want and expect no one to respond. It doesn’t work like that.
Also, some on the left are trying to now defend Griffin by saying “Obama didn’t respond like this when Ted Nugent and others spouted off during his term of office.” Yes, that may be true but I bet you that the FBI or some agency “started a folder” and checked into Teddy and the others when they made their threats. Remember as well, people got arrested and convicted for threatening Obama and other Presidents through history. No one has even charged Griffin with anything nor does anyone reasonably foresee a US Attorney standing up and making a case that your true motives were to actually behead Trump. Ted Nugent lost a TV show, endorsements, concerts were canceled and lost revenue. It isn’t all about who’s going to jail. Neither Nugent nor Griffin will ever see the inside of a jail cell for their publicity stunts. And anyone who thinks either will, should or even consider it a possibility need to take a step back and get back to reality.
Griffin has long been an advocate for people who are actual victims of bullying including the LGBTQ community. What she has done here, by playing the bullied victim, is kick every single one of those people in the teeth. She spat on them. Instead of using her current 15-minute allotment of fame to maybe turn a negative into a positive by speaking up for them, she only had her own interests at heart. In doing so, she insulted all bullied victims.
Furthermore, she hurt all those on the left who champion the causes she claims to stand for. By insisting the spotlight stay on her and her allegations, she both takes away headlines for those causes getting out there and makes everyone on the left look hypocritical.
Kathy Griffin, you need to stop. Stop now. Take a vacation or do something that is as far away from a spotlight as you can get. You are serving no one but yourself here, damaging everyone that you allegedly care about and the causes they sincerely fight for on a daily basis. Make no mistake, Donald Trump is a bully. but in this case, he didn’t bully you. You threw a punch and ot hit back.
Featured image via screen capture from youtube.com