Comedienne Kathy Griffin has faced withering outrage from supporters of President Donald Trump after an ill-considered video backfired. Now, even some in Hollywood are taking jabs at Griffin. Wait till you read the zinger actor James Woods fired off on Twitter.
On June 3, with many conservatives calling for Kathy Griffin’s head, actor James Woods sounded off in his social media by issuing the following tweet:
“Kathy Griffin feels ‘betrayed’ by Anderson Cooper after firing // #Rats devouring each other…”
Almost anyone who has seen Griffin’s poorly executed anti-Trump bit has denounced it. Beginning with the fact that it is in poor taste and ending with the fact that it is not funny, criticism has been widespread and withering.
However, it does have historical precedence, and indeed, needs to be taken in that context when determining how much time the comedienne should spend in contrition for her transgression.
In 2012, during the presidential race between President Obama and Governor Mitt Romney, former rock star and gun rights advocate Ted Nugent made the following statement while addressing attendees at a National Rifle Association convention:
“…but I tell you this right now: if Barack Obama becomes the President in November, I will either be dead or in jail by this time next year…”
At the time, this statement caused much grief for the self proclaimed “Motor City Madman.” in fact, the United States Secret Service even launched an investigation of Nugent in order to determine the credibility of his thinly veiled threat against the president.
Was it realistic to believe that someone with as much to lose as Ted Nugent would actually follow through? On the one hand, his stature in popular culture and career as entertainer certainly and reasonably suggest that he would not carry out an assassination attempt. However, he is also highly regarded as an expert hunter and marksman, thus making it at least plausible that he could have the requisite skills to execute such a plan.
In the final analysis, it was determined that Nugent was simply following an obviously rhetorical line of discourse, and had no real intention to harm a sitting president. While extremely distasteful, it was not a credible threat.
The result was that Nugent lost the respect and support of a great many fans who had loved his music for decades, but he experienced very little actual professional loss.
Kathy Griffin’s extremely distasteful gag will cost her many fans who previously followed her career, It will certainly cost her financially in the short term as she loses endorsements and gigs. But should she be blacklisted from performing? Should this spell the end of her career? Has she somehow crossed a line that even the First Amendment cannot protect?
Perhaps the better question is why people on either side of political debates see the need to use violent symbolism and rhetoric to express themselves.
Why do you think our public discourse has become so toxic? How much of this blame should be shouldered by the very politicians themselves, and how much belongs to us for continuing to respond to such hateful speech from both sides? Please share your thoughts with us here.