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A defiant Kathy Griffin vowed Friday to continue making jokes about President Donald Trump, and stressed that she believes she's been personally attacked by the president and the first family.
Flanked by civil rights attorney Lisa Bloom, a tearful Griffin said she stands by her original apology for the gruesome photo she shared on social media Tuesday. But the comedian became defiant when speaking about the backlash she's faced, particularly at the hands of the president and members of his family.
"What's happening to me has never happened, ever in the history of this great country, which is that a sitting president of the United States and his grown children and the first lady are personally, I feel, personally trying to ruin my life forever."
Bloom framed Griffin’s stunt as a First Amendment performance piece and chided the president for treating the incident as yet another high-profile celebrity feud.
"Trump does not realistically fear 56-year-old, 110-pound Kathy Griffin," she said. "Kathy Griffin and Donald Trump are not equals; he is the president of the United States."
Griffin admits that her brand of shock-comedy does not meet everyone's taste, but she said she believes backlash against her photo is rooted, in part, in sexism.
“Cut the crap, this wouldn’t be happening to a guy — this is a woman thing,” she said. “I’m not afraid of Donald Trump. He’s a bully. I’ve dealt with older white guys trying to keep me down my whole life — my whole career.”
Bloom backed Griffin’s sexism charge, noting that male musician Marilyn Manson, and all-male bands Municipal Waste and Gwar, have shared graphic images depicting the death of President Trump — with relative impunity.
“They’re all just considered bad boys,” she said. “Unlike these male artists, Kathy apologized. Unlike these male artists, Kathy has endured the most powerful man in America and his family using their power to target her and her employers.”
Griffin came under fire earlier this week, when she shared a video of herself slowly raising a fake, gory severed head made to look like Trump. The stunt was met with near-immediate rebuke on social media and Griffin deleted the post and later apologized.
But the damage had been done.
In a tweet, Trump called the photo “sick” and in a separate post, the first lady stressed that the video had negatively affected their 11-year-old son, Barron. The Secret Service has opened a criminal investigation into the post.
But Griffin said she feels personally attacked by the president and his eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., who lashed out at the comedian on Twitter, tagging Griffin’s employers in a series of posts and insisting that she be fired.
The next day, CNN announced it had terminated its contract with Griffin, who frequently co-hosts the network’s New Year’s Eve special alongside Anderson Cooper.
"I don’t think I will have a career" after this, Griffin said, adding that she has had five performances cancelled this week. “I’m going to be honest, he broke me — he broke me,” she said through tears.