Kathy Griffin’s photograph depicting her holding up a fake, bloodied decapitated head meant to resemble President Donald Trump is now the subject of a United States Secret Service investigation, according to a report.
Law enforcement sources told TMZ that the Secret Service has launched an investigation into “the circumstances surrounding the photo shoot.”
On Tuesday, the federal agency took to Twitter and seemingly acknowledged Griffin’s photo, which has been messaged directly at the Secret Service by numerous social media users.
“On it! @SecretService has a robust protective intelligence division that monitors open source reporting & social media to evaluate threats,” the agency tweeted Tuesday afternoon.
“Threats made against @SecretService protectees receive the highest priority of all of our investigations. #ProtectionNeverRests,” the Secret Service tweeted an hour later.
By Tuesday evening, the Secret Service had issued a longer statement — which did not mention Griffin or her horrific photo.
“The U.S. Secret Service has a critical mission. It is always unfortunate when people make statements that could be perceived as threats,” the statement read, according to ABC News. “We don’t have the luxury of knowing a person’s intent. Each alleged or perceived threat has to be investigated thoroughly which taxes Secret Service manpower and resources that could be utilized elsewhere.”
Backlash toward Griffin came swiftly, with many social media users calling for a boycott of Griffin’s cross-country comedy tour.
The fallout prompted CNN, the network where Griffin has co-hosted a live New Year’s Eve broadcast since 2007, to begin reconsidering the comedian’s role at the network.
CNN anchor Anderson Cooper also distanced himself from Griffin, tweeting Tuesday “For the record, I am appalled by the photo shoot Kathy Griffin took part in. It is clearly disgusting and completely inappropriate.”
President Trump tweeted Wednesday morning that Griffin “should be ashamed of herself” and that her photo had been difficult for his children, including his 11-year-old son, Barron.
Griffin had initially defended the photo, writing on Twitter that she does “not condone ANY violence” but was “merely mocking the Mocker in Chief.” But the statement did little to quell the near-universal criticism, which prompted Griffin to issue a video apology.
“I sincerely apologize. I am just now seeing the reaction of these images,” the My Life on the D-List star said in a Instagram video late Tuesday. “I ask your forgiveness. Taking down the image. Going to ask the photographer to take down the image.”
Griffin did not apologize directly to the president or his family and had joked earlier about needing to move to Mexico because of the negative reaction to the photo.