The photographer who took the now-infamous photos of comedian Kathy Griffin holding the severed head of President Donald Trump is speaking out about the contraversy.
Tyler Shields told Architectural Digest in an interview published Friday that he knew the image would be controversial but was still shocked by the level of outrage over Griffin’s photograph.
“The day we realized this was going to be really crazy — I don’t remember if it was the day after, or a couple of days later — I called Kathy and I said to her: ‘Listen, this happened to the Dixie Chicks, if you remember with the George W. Bush thing, and people were burning their albums, and driving over their albums or whatever,'” Shields said, referencing the 2003 moment when the Dixie Chicks said they were “ashamed” Bush was from Texas on the eve of the Iraq War.
“Kathy was in a tough mental place and I said, ‘Kathy, this happened to them and they thought they were over, and they had that song and it wasn’t an apology, and it ended up being their biggest song ever, but it took time,'” Shields continued
Shields said he and Griffin have been friends for about seven years, and they both met again at one of his exhibits in Los Angeles, where Griffin said, “It’s been too long. It’s time to shoot again.”
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Shield told her, “I completely agree.”
After the backlash to Griffin’s photo erupted, Shields said he didn’t think that amount of negativity toward a photo could happen in this day and age.
“There was a part of me, when that happened, I was like, ‘Wow, I didn’t think that could still even happen. I didn’t think you could have something go big like that anymore,'” Shields said.
Griffin apologized for the photo after it went viral in May, saying, “I’m a comic. I crossed the line, I moved the line and then I crossed the line. I went way too far. The image is too disturbing. I understand how it offends people, it wasn’t funny.”
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She later retracted her apology in August while on the Australian talk show Sunrise, saying, “I am no longer sorry, the whole outrage was B.S., the whole thing got so blown out of proportion. I lost everybody.”
The comedian posted a 17-minute YouTube video last week, claiming Cohen had offered her drugs on multiple occasions. Cohen responded in a tweet, writing, “I am completely stunned by this story. It is 100% false and totally made up.”