Kathy Griffin holding a “Donald Trump” mask covered in ketchup
Artist: Kathy Griffin
Date of Action: 2017
Region: North America
Location: United States
Confronting Bodies: United States Government, CNN, public citizens
Description of Artwork: Griffin held up a mask of President Trump dripping with ketchup. In an interview, she laughed, recalling: "I didn't have any fake blood. I usually don't stock it!" Griffin said the photo was intended as political satire.
The Incident: The President of the United States, Donald Trump, called out the comedian on Twitter, writing: "Kathy Griffin should be ashamed of herself. My children, especially my 11-year-old son Barron, are having a hard time with this. Sick!"
Results of Incident: Her comedy tour was cancelled, she lost her Squatty Potty endorsement deal, and she was investigated for conspiracy to assassinate the President of the United States – a charge that could have meant a life sentence. In addition, her name ended up on the no-fly list, and CNN fired her from her long-running gig co-hosting their New Year's Eve special with Anderson Cooper.
"My little story is historic," she said. "Whether you like it or not, it's the first time a sitting United States president has used the full power of the Oval Office, the first family, the right-wing media and, more importantly, two departments within the Department of Justice to open an investigation on a private citizen who did nothing wrong. Didn't violate the First Amendment, didn't break the law."
Griffin is still performing comedy, and she even had a major comedy special in 2019 – a performance which led to death threats motivated by her provocative 2017 political satire.