Al Franken Disinvites Kathy Griffin from Book Event

Senator Al Franken (D-MN)
AP/J. Scott Applewhite

Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) has disinvited Kathy Griffin from an upcoming book event one day after saying he would still appear with her in the wake of the controversy generated by a photograph in which the comedian posed with what looked like President Donald Trump’s decapitated head.

Griffin had been set to appear alongside Franken at an event at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on July 7 to discuss Franken’s new book, Giant of the Senate.

In a Wednesday appearance on CNN, the senator said the image of Griffin holding a bloody, fake head meant to resemble that of the president was a “horrible mistake” and “had no business being in our public discourse.” But Franken — who has previously received campaign donations from Griffin — said the July book event would continue as scheduled.

Franken backtracked Thursday, saying “it would be best” for Griffin not to appear at the event.

“After hearing from many Minnesotans who were rightfully offended, I’ve come to the conclusion that it would be best for her not to participate in the event we had previously scheduled. I understand why Minnesotans were upset by this, and I take that very seriously,” Franken told Politico Thursday.

“I believe what Kathy Griffin did was inappropriate and not something that should be anywhere in our national discourse. I consider her a friend and I’m glad she realized she crossed the line and apologized,” he added.

The photo of Griffin — taken by L.A.-based photographer Tyler Shields — sparked a firestorm when it was first published by TMZ Tuesday morning. CNN fired the comedian from her role as co-host of its New Year’s Eve coverage, and at least five venues have cancelled scheduled performances on her comedy tour.

Griffin is set to hold a press conference Friday morning to address the “true motivation” behind the image, and respond to the “bullying” she says she had endured by the Trump family.


Follow Daniel Nussbaum on Twitter: @dznussbaum


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