We recently discussed the controversy surrounding Kathy Griffin and her disgusting image of a bloody severed head of President Donald Trump. Griffin held an equally bizarre press conference on Friday that first took responsibility for the scandal and then insisted that she is being set up by white men and blatant sexism. If this was an effort by attorney Lisa Bloom to repackage the scandal, it was a miserable failure. Indeed, the press conference could be a lesson for all lawyers in high-profile controversies of how not to respond to a scandal. There seemed to be not preparation of Griffin and no development of a single coherent narrative (rather surprising for an entertainer). The set up for the press conference at the law firm was awkward and made the client look like a caged animal. Bloom’s lead in remarks seemed more like a stump speech than a legal defense. Griffin was the object of the exercise rather than a human being in distress. Bloom’s effort to blame Trump for her client’s conduct contradicted one of a number of different narratives being advanced at the same time. The result was a Jackson Pollock press conference of paint splatters. The problem is that they did not make for a pleasing final image. I am not sure what Bloom sought to achieve, but it could not have been what actually occurred. In a rambling press conference, she insisted “Cut the crap, this wouldn’t be happening to a guy.” Indeed, it would. If Anderson Cooper held up the bloody severed head of Donald Trump on CNN, he would also be looking at the end of his journalistic career as would other comedians like Jerry Seinfeld.
Griffin seemed to swing wildly from contrition to condemnation. She insisted that she was being targeted for “standing up” to Trump who was bullying her for her joke. At first she said that she would continue to make jokes and be undeterred. She then broke down and said “He broke me. It’s just not right, and I’ve apologized because that was the right thing to do, and I meant it.” She added “I don’t think I’ll have a career after this.”
Of course, apologizing does not mean that everything is forgiven. People can still find your conduct appalling and question your failure to see the grotesque nature of your statement.
The addition of criminal attorney, Dmitry Gorin, was equally problematic. There is no serious criminal investigation of Griffin. The Secret Service has been mocked for interviewing everyone from cartoonists to children for threats against the president. Gorin became little more than a prop in this catastrophic display.
Ironically, Griffin at times sounds like . . . well . . . Trump: “What’s happening to me has never happened, ever, in the history of this great country.
She then insisted that this was all because she is a woman in a male-dominated industry despite the large number of successful female comedians. She insisted that “There’s a bunch of old white guys trying to silence me, but that’s wrong.”
The effort to portray herself as the victim of sexism (and strangely racism) is about as convincing as Patti Hearst portraying her arrest as the result of an international banking conspiracy.
In the end, it was not clear whether Griffin wanted to be forgiven or lionized for her conduct. However, the claims of a sexist (and racist) element to her current predicament gets a bit lost in the ISIS-inspired image blasted around the world.