Allow me the space to state unequivocally, that I love Kathy Griffin as a comedian and a person. If one happens to be offended by her style and language, remember that no one is compelled to patronise her show.
A few days ago she displayed an effigy of President Donald Trump, a political figure. A notorious public figure. Kathy chose to use a representation of Trump’s bloody, severed head and America howled its hypocritical horror. Was it the fake blood?
The selective outrage so terrified a pusillanimous CNN, that Kathy was fired before she could even finish her apology. Most of her fans caved even before they gave thought to the fact that she did nothing wrong, ethically or legally. That many thought her act exhibited poor taste is a matter of ever flipping opinions, depending on the person, not the issue. That Trump’s child may have been traumatised is certainly not a reason to condemn her act. He’s his child, supervise him and manage his bedtime.
But this is where the selective outrage is itself the outrage. Was his child not traumatised when President Obama was lynched in effigy so many times that his children might have thought that a bad movie replayed. Hell, the very day after Obama’s first election, I walked in to my offices and found Obama depicted as comic character Steve Urkel, lynched from a doorknob. I disposed of it and never said a word. Not even to the known perpetrator.
I’m still waiting for the strict constitutionalists to breathe a whisper of free speech in Kathy’s defence. No word from known sources about artistic freedom and “pushing the envelope”. None! Shocked I was when her friend, Anderson Cooper felt an obligation to denounce the act. Why? Effigies are made to be destroyed, especially in political dissent.
So, I’ll conclude with this message to CNN in particular. Borrow a spine and stop appeasing clamorous crowds who yell, “Give us Barabbas.” Uphold principles, not who shouts loudest. Make your stand, even when it’s not popular. You were wrong to fire Kathy Griffin and I hope with all my heart that she sues you.
By Leyland King
June 1, 2017