WOODLAND HILLS (CBSLA.com/AP) —An emotional but resolute Kathy Griffin told a throng of reporters Friday morning in Woodland Hills that she was “standing up” against what she claimed was bullying in the wake of the release of a photo of herself posing with a likeness of President Donald Trump’s severed head.
Griffin apologized for the photo and video but said that “the mob mentality pile-on” that followed inspired her to speak out.
“He broke me,” Griffin said of President Trump. “It’s just not right, and I’ve apologized because that was the right thing to do, and I meant it.”
On Tuesday, Griffin and celebrity photographer Tyler Shields posted a video of Griffin holding a severed, bloody head resembling that of the president. The video showed a straight-faced Griffin slowly lifting the bloody head.
Griffin apologized within hours of the image appearing online. It was met with swift and widespread condemnation.
“I made a mistake, and I was wrong,” she said in a video late Tuesday.
However, Griffin said Friday that she scheduled the news conference because the Trump family, she claimed, was intimidating her in a way never before seen in U.S. history.
“What’s happening to me has never happened, ever, in the history of this great country,” Griffin said. “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.”
Griffin said five upcoming shows have been canceled since the fallout began.
“I don’t think I’ll have a career after this,” she said.
The image prompted CNN to fire Griffin from her decade-long gig hosting a New Year’s Eve special with Anderson Cooper. When asked about the firing, Griffin responded, “There’s a bunch of old white guys trying to silence me, but that’s wrong.”
Griffin alleged that she is under Secret Service investigation for the image. Her attorneys went as far as to say she is under a criminal investigation. Griffin and her attorney, Lisa Bloom, were adamant that here actions were protected under the Constitution.
“You don’t have to like me, but you shouldn’t silence a comic,” Griffin said.
She also suggested the backlash had more to do with her gender than the content of the photo shoot.
“Cut the crap, this wouldn’t be happening to a guy,” she said.
“Kathy has a First Amendment right to make whatever provocative art she chooses,” Bloom said. “Whether or not you get, or like, her artistic expression, Kathy has the right to publicly parody the president.”
Bloom stated that the photo was a “parody of Trump’s own sexist remarks, taken to an extreme,” referring to Trump’s interview with CNN last year regarding anchor Megyn Kelly, in which Trump said Kelly had “blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her… wherever.”
Trump tweeted Wednesday that Griffin “should be ashamed of herself” for posting the images.
“My children, especially my 11 year old son, Barron, are having a hard time with this. Sick!”
Bloom dismissed the idea that Griffin intended to disturb or target Barron or any other children with the photo.
“Comics can say things that are not appropriate for children, comics can create images that are not appropriate for children… She gets to make the comedy and the art that she wants to make and the parents decide what’s appropriate.”
“Nothing in her piece had to do with Barron,” Bloom added.
Meanwhile, Bloom claimed Friday that she has received hate mail for representing Griffin. She posted the following on Twitter prior to Friday’s news conference.
The 56-year-old Griffin has faced controversies before for her abrasive humor, but none as widespread as the one generated by Tuesday’s images.
Shields was not present at the news conference. He posted the following tweet May 26: “Can you go to jail for making an artistic statement??? Asking for a friend… @kathygriffin.”
WATCH the full news conference below.
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)