Kathy Griffin, a Year After Trump Photo Backlash, Takes Aim at President's "Abuse of Power"

Thread Alert - Kathy Griffin WHCD - Getty - H 2018
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Thread Alert: The comedian opens up about her experience over the past year and why it's important that people know that Trump didn't "break" her: "We need to keep track of when Trump goes after people."

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A year after Kathy Griffin made headlines for a photoshoot stunt featuring her holding a depiction of Donald Trump's bloodied head, the comedian took to Twitter to look back on the experience with a lengthy thread in which she encouraged people to hold the president accountable for his "abuse of power."

In a series of 50-plus tweets, Griffin — inspired by Sarah Sanders including her name in a White House press briefing about the president's response to Roseanne's cancellation — recalled the damage to her life and career, the efforts she has gone to in order to rebuild both and how she still refuses to let the president "break" her.

"The image was inspired by Trump's sexist comments to Don Lemon about Megyn Kelly from the 2015 campaign," Griffin wrote. "So the mask photo was meant to be a play on those sexist comments about Megyn. … Did I know the photo would cause controversy? Of course … but I thought it would be a one- or two-day thing. My point was to do something provocative in an attempt to keep the spotlight shining on his sexism. In my mind that's the role that comics are supposed to play."

Griffin went on to say comics are supposed to push boundaries and take risks, often using provocation as a tool. She wanted to use the image to keep the focus on "Trump's misogyny" amid the "chaos" the president was taking. "The point was sending a message about his sexism, 'blood out of her eyes …' — not about an image of a head (or in this case a mask), so I would have probably done a blowup doll instead of a mask."

A year after the experience, Griffin sees Trump as "the most powerful news director and campaign director," noting that "a tweet from Trump is an order to his millions of followers and the news media," with her the target. Griffin wrote she had the right to put out the images but it was "plain wrong for the president of the United States to use his power to come after me or anyone else he is offended by. … No other president in modern times has used his power this way and that's why I keep speaking out about this," she wrote.

Griffin recalled the bomb threats, show cancellations and struggles she went through to land a publicist or crisis manager and how she wound up going through with the ill-fated press conference in which she said that Trump "broke her." And now, a year later, she acknowledged that he did — "for two days." She shared of her experience with the secret service and U.S. Attorney who kept the investigation open for two months in "an attempt to intimidate." She was later detained "in every airport" as she toured overseas, where audiences "accepted and understood" her intent with the now infamous photo.

"Trump didn't win in the long run. I won't let him. I have scraped my way back into touring and I will keep pushing and I won't give up. But I know I'm in a special position … Trump's abuse of power keeps getting worse and worse. What's next?" she wrote, explaining that she wasn't "broken" or taking time off. "They didn't realize the abuse of power stuff fully until I started talking about it. … My point is we need to keep track of when Trump goes after people. Don't just react at the moment, make sure people are OK days, months later."
"The only way to deal with a presidency that abuses power and is authoritarian in nature is to make sure that we back up those that the administration has tried to knock down. It's exhausting but so important if we have any hope of preserving our democracy."  

Read the full 51-tweet thread below.