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Kathy Griffin No Longer Friends With Anderson Cooper, Done Apologizing

Kathy Griffin No Longer Friends With Anderson Cooper, Done Apologizing

Kathy Griffin

The comic apologized for a picture of her holding a severed Trump head, but she's still paid a price.

Typically, Kathy Griffin is an unapologetic comedian who takes no prisoners, but faced with the vehement backlash to a photo of her holding a Donald Trump severed head mask, she caved to pressure and apologized almost immediately. Within hours of the photo's appearance, a Secret Service investigation was under way, live performances were canceled, she received death threats, she was fired from her annual New Year's Eve hosting gig with Anderson Cooper, and their long-standing friendship ended, according to an extensive interview with The Cut.

As the photo, which photographer Tyler Shields sent out to the public with Griffin's permission (although she did not realize that the gossip site TMZ would be the first site to run it), was going viral this past May, Cooper jumped into the zeitgeist and tweeted his disapproval of the violent imagery Griffin had presented.

"For the record, I am appalled by the photo shoot Kathy Griffin took part in. It is clearly disgusting and completely inappropriate," Cooper wrote. He later told Andy Cohen on Watch What Happens Live that he and Griffin were still friends, but Griffin told The Cut another story -- that her friend of 17 years, Cooper, had not reached out to her personally until August 10, when he sent a series of texts checking in on her. It was at that point that she informed him their friendship was over.

Now Griffin, who some accused of playing the victim card after Trump and his extended family went after her on social media in the wake of her viral photo, is done apologizing.

"President Trump just pardoned Joe Arpaio, who was essentially running a concentration camp in the Arizona desert," Griffin told The Cut this past weekend. "He said there are some good Nazis, and he's kicking out young adults who were brought here as kids by their parents, and I'm the one who has to continue to apologize?"

Ironically, as backlash about the photo was building on the right and the left from people including Debra Messing and Chelsea Clinton, it was a phone call from Rosie O'Donnell, one of Trump's most frequent targets and a friend of Griffin's, that pushed Griffin to apologize. O'Donnell said that the imagery invoked that of James Foley, a journalist who was beheaded by ISIS in 2014. "What is James Foley's mom going to think when she sees this?" O'Donnell pointed out.

But since Griffin prostrated herself in a video apology, Trump has continued with dangerous, hateful rhetoric from his campaign trail, insisting that violence at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va. came from "many sides," and defending the existence of Confederate monuments. And since Griffin's photo circulated he's also turned his bigotry into policy, like the ban on transgender people in the military.

One CBS executive, Griffin's former friend Arnold Kopelson, sent her an email he'd written for her to release to Fox News begging Trump for forgiveness. The self-flagellating email, which Kopelson insisted that she send or her career was ostensibly over, read:

"Now with my world crumbling around me, I am listening for the first time about the great things you have done and are doing. How stupid I was to follow the lies from the 'Left.' It took my terrible mistake to finally see the false news. I do not deserve what I am asking of you. I am begging you to open your heart and forgive me."

While the actions of celebrities like Johnny Depp who called for Trump's assassination and later apologized for it have largely been forgotten or forgiven, Griffin has continued to pay a price for doing what she's always done -- push buttons. She told The Cut that Kopelson's email was typical of studio men "who control the checkbooks."

Now, although she failed to stand behind her own photo in the face of criticism, she intends to work with the American Civil Liberties Union on issues around the First Amendment, according to The Cut.

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