Tyler Shields, the photographer behind the now-infamous image of Kathy Griffin holding the bloodied, decapitated head of President Donald Trump, says he stands by his art and won’t censor any of his work in the future.
The Los Angeles-based photographer was approached by TMZ outside a Gelson’s supermarket, where he appeared to suggest he wouldn’t change what happened if he could go back and do it over again.
The image of Griffin holding a bloody head meant to resemble that of the president went viral Tuesday, causing a firestorm online. CNN fired the comedian from it’s annual New Year’s Eve Live broadcast, while at least one venue on her cross-country comedy tour cancelled an upcoming performance.
“Honestly, I’ve got no comment. The only thing is, you make art, you gotta stand by it,” Shields told TMZ.
“I can’t censor myself,” he added.
Shields also said he had spoken to Griffin after the image made national news, but didn’t indicate what they spoke about.
“I’m just gonna go home and eat my ice cream and hide out,” he told the TMZ cameraman as he pulled away from the grocery store.
Shields’ photograph, which some critics said was reminiscent of photos taken by the terror group ISIS to celebrate their atrocities, was roundly condemned by both sides of the political aisle after it was first published by TMZ Tuesday morning.
On Wednesday, a report claimed that Trump’s youngest son, 11-year-old Barron Trump, became distressed when he saw the image on television, because he did not know who Griffin was or the context in which the photograph was taken.
President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump responded to the image on Wednesday, with the president calling the photograph “sick” and adding that Griffin “should be ashamed of herself.”
The First Lady said that “as a mother, a wife, and a human being,” she found the image “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.
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