Just weeks after she posed for a photo holding an imitation severed head depicting President Donald Trump, comedian Kathy Griffin was visited by the U.S. Secret Service for an hour.
NY Magazine political reporter Yashar Ali tweeted that she was interviewed and questioned by the agency. Her lawyers confirmed last month that an investigation was opened into the photo, The Hill reported.
Griffin has since apologized for the photo after sparking mass outrage. “It wasn’t funny. I get it. I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my career. I will continue. I ask your forgiveness,” she said in an apology, adding that she went “too far.” Both Democrats and Republicans criticized the photos, which were posted by photographer Tyler Shields.
Last week, she hinted at rising tensions around the Secret Service inquiry. “Hey… TMZ and [TMZ founder] Harvey Levin,” she wrote: “May you NEVER [be] under fed investigation like I am now.” She commented on a Think Progress article that claims TMZ is the “most potent” pro-Trump website.
She’s also said her tweets are under federal investigation.
According to the New York Times, Griffin’s lawyers said her photo is protected under the First Amendment.
“She basically exercised her First Amendment rights to tell a joke,” Dmitry Gorin, an attorney representing, Griffin said. “When you look at everything in the media, all the times entertainers make videos or express themselves in other ways, you’ve never seen an entertainer, let alone a comedian, be subject to a criminal investigation.”
After the photo controversy, CNN fired her from hosting duties on the channel’s annual New Year’s Eve program. “CNN has terminated our agreement with Kathy Griffin to appear on our New Year’s Eve program,” the network said in a statement. Anderson Cooper, Griffin’s former co-host, termed the photos as “disgusting and completely inappropriate” on Twitter.
Trump, in a tweet at the time, said she should be “ashamed of herself.”