Comedian Kathy Griffin and CNN anchor Anderson Cooper have ended their multi-year friendship after the controversy surrounding Griffin's portrayal of a beheaded President Donald Trump. (Warning: The image below is graphic).
Griffin, 56, told Cooper their "friendship was over" after Cooper refused to speak directly with Griffin after the incident, rather deciding to denounce Griffin over Twitter, according to The Cut. Griffin and Cooper's friendship dated back 17 years and the duo had hosted CNN's New Year's Eve show for several years.
Griffin came under fire for staging a photo shoot in which she held up what appeared to be the severed head of Trump. What started as satire, Griffin said, quickly blew up. Celebrities and political commentators from both parties took to Twitter to criticize the comedian in no uncertain terms.
"This is vile and wrong," said former first daughter Chelsea Clinton, the daughter of Hillary Clinton, Trump's main political rival in the 2016 election. "It is never funny to joke about killing a president."
"It wasn’t right when peoplel hung lynched Obama effigies, just as what Kathy Griffin did isn’t right now," wrote "Will & Grace" star Debra Messing.
Rosie O'Donnell, a celebrity who has frequently been in Trump's crosshairs, said she reached out to Griffin to ask her one simple question: "What is James Foley's mom going to think when she sees this?" Foley was an American journalist beheaded by ISIS while on assignment in Syria in 2014.
Griffin, who initially stood by the image, later issued an apology, reports Slate.
"I’m a comic. I cross the line. I move the line, then I cross it. I went way too far," she said in an apology video posted to social media. "The image is too disturbing. I understand how it offends people. It wasn't funny. I get it."
She added: "I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my career. I will continue. I asked your forgiveness, and I’m gonna ask the photographer to take down the image, and I beg for your forgiveness."
Griffin said that as the issue escalated, she figured she would get a text message or phone call from Cooper before he inevitably denounced the shoot. Instead, Griffin said, Cooper took to Twitter to announce his displeasure with the stunt without a heads-up, according to The Cut.
Cooper also mentioned that he and Griffin were still friends when making talk show appearances, but Griffin said the two had not talked since the photo went viral. When she heard Cooper say the two of them remained close, despite not hearing from him for weeks, Griffin informed him that the two of them were no longer friends.
Sources: The Cut, Slate / Featured Image: Anders Krusberg/Peabody Awards via Wikimedia Commons / Embedded Images: Tyler Shields via TMZ, Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images via The A.V. Club