CNN fires Kathy Griffin after photo of President Trump's fake bloody head

Griffin appeared on the network's New Year's Eve program.

ByABC News
May 31, 2017, 1:34 PM

— -- CNN announced today it has terminated its agreement with Kathy Griffin to appear on the network's New Year's Eve program, after the comedian posted a photo of herself holding what appears to be a bloody, severed fake head of President Donald Trump.

Griffin has co-hosted CNN's "New Years Eve Live" with CNN anchor Anderson Cooper from New York's Times Square for the past 10 consecutive years.

Trump fired back at Griffin on Twitter earlier today, calling the image "sick" and said she "should be ashamed of herself."

"My children, especially my 11 year old son, Barron, are having a hard time with this," he added.

In a statement obtained by ABC News today, first lady Melania Trump said the image is "very disturbing" and "simply wrong."

“As a mother, a wife and a human being, that photo is very disturbing. When you consider some of the atrocities happening in the world today, a photo opportunity like this is simply wrong and makes you wonder about the mental health of the person who did it," she said.

The photo was taken by celebrity photographer Tyler Shields. Shields and Griffin posted it on their social media accounts Tuesday.

"I caption this 'there was blood coming out of his eyes, blood coming out of his ... wherever,'" Griffin tweeted, referring to an exchange between Donald Trump and former Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly during the presidential primary season.

In an attempt to appease those who were offended by the image, the controversial comedian then tweeted, "OBVIOUSLY, I do not condone ANY violence by my fans or others to anyone, ever! I'm merely mocking the Mocker in Chief."

Condemnation of the image was widespread, and the photo received sweeping bipartisan disapproval. Chelsea Clinton, the daughter of Trump's Democratic rival in the election, was among the harshest critics, calling Griffin's photo "vile and wrong."

The backlash prompted Griffin to tweet a video of herself apologizing.

"Hey, everybody, it's me, Kathy Griffin," she said in the video. "I sincerely apologize. I am just now seeing the reaction to these images. I'm a comic. I crossed the line. I move the line, then I cross it. I went way too far. The image is too disturbing. I understand how it offends people. It wasn't funny. I get it. I've made a lot of mistakes in my career. I will continue. I ask your forgiveness. Taking down the image. I am going to ask the photographer to take down the image. And I beg for your forgiveness. I went too far, I made a mistake, and I was wrong."

ABC News' John Santucci contributed to this report.

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