The Student News Site of Colorado State University

The Rocky Mountain Collegian

The Student News Site of Colorado State University

The Rocky Mountain Collegian

The Student News Site of Colorado State University

The Rocky Mountain Collegian

Print Edition
Letter to the editor submissions
Have a strong opinion about something happening on campus or in Fort Collins? Want to respond to an article written on The Collegian? Write a Letter to the Editor by following the guidelines here.
Follow Us on Twitter
Five Things We Learned Delivering Over Half a Million Orders for NoCo Restaurants
Five Things We Learned Delivering Over Half a Million Orders for NoCo Restaurants
November 8, 2023

  In May 2019, Nosh began as a humble restaurant co-op with just three people. When the pandemic hit in March 2020, while many businesses...

Head to head: Comedians should not be held to higher standards than the president

Editor’s Note: All opinion section content reflects the views of the individual author only and does not represent a stance taken by the Collegian or its editorial board.

This is a “Head to Head” column. Read the opposing viewpoint here.


Kathy Griffin was fired from CNN’s New Years Eve program on May 31st after posing for a photo shoot with a fake, severed Trump head. The photo is obviously staged, and in no way could it be mistaken for the real president. Kathy Griffin should not have been fired from CNN over the photo of her holding Trump’s severed head because her job is to be satirical comedian. Other celebrities, including our own president, are not being held accountable for actions that are just as bad, if not worse.

According to many comedians, including Louis C.K., no topic should be off limits for a joke. Part of a comedian’s job is to make something dark into something funny. Other comedians, such as Stephan Colbert, have said way worse things than holding a picture of a poorly duplicated severed Trump head.

Griffin’s job is satirical comedy, which means that her entire celebrity status is a joke. Griffin has built her comedy career on being extremely crude, including her 2007 Emmy Award speech. This photo isn’t a surprise. The public should assume that everything she does is for comedy, and nothing she does should be taken seriously. I agree that Griffin’s photo was in poor taste, but the only reason she should lose her job is because it just wasn’t very funny, not because it was offensive.

As touched on previously, other celebrities have done things equally as bad as posing for a picture. Though it is illegal to threaten the President of the United States, no other celebrity has been penalized for creating equally offensive actions. Comedians such as Colbert, Bill Maher, and the cast of Saturday Night Live have made countless jokes about Trump’s physical wellbeing, as well as having a love affair with Vladimir Putin, unsparing of any details. Snoop Dogg released a music video of him shooting a Trump clown in the face and received nothing more than a slap on the wrist.

Since the election, most comedians have had a go at making all sorts of jokes at Trump’s expense, including jokes about his assassination. The Kathy Griffin incident is no different. Verbal vs. visual jokes should not make a difference, because in the en, they mean the same thing. Griffin shouldn’t have been fired when every other comedian in America has been making similar jokes.

In my opinion, our own president makes more offensive remarks than the Kathy Griffin picture could hold up to. Trump claimed that he could shoot someone in the middle of 5th avenue and still win the election. He told 2nd amendment activists to go use their freedom on Hillary Clinton. Those claims are just as offensive as the photo. Griffin should not have been fired if our own president cannot be held to the same standards. Comedians are being held to higher standards than our own president; if Griffin is being fired for a single picture, Trump should at least be held accountable for his offensive statements.

Some would argue that because Griffin is in the public spotlight, she shouldn’t be able to make such extreme statements, because people might see this as a celebrity endorsement of the assassination of the president. However, Griffin is a comedian and not a news oriented celebrity, and actions like this should not be taken seriously. If we start taking away freedom of speech from celebrities, it is a very slippery slope of unconstitutional behavior. More credible celebrities, even political commentators such as Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh, have said things equally offensive to Griffin’s picture about liberal politicians and received very little backlash.

If Griffin is being fired for a single picture, President Trump should at least be held accountable for his offensive statements; Griffin should not lose her job if Trump is not held accountable for his actions.

Leta McWilliams can be reached at letters@collegian and online at @LetaMcWilliams


Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Hey, thanks for visiting!
We’d like to ask you to please disable your ad blocker when looking at our site — advertising revenue directly supports our student journalists and allows us to bring you more content like this.

Comments (0)

When commenting on The Collegian’s website, please be respectful of others and their viewpoints. The Collegian reviews all comments and reserves the right to reject comments from the website. Comments including any of the following will not be accepted. 1. No language attacking a protected group, including slurs or other profane language directed at a person’s race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, social class, age, physical or mental disability, ethnicity or nationality. 2. No factually inaccurate information, including misleading statements or incorrect data. 3. No abusive language or harassment of Collegian writers, editors or other commenters. 4. No threatening language that includes but is not limited to language inciting violence against an individual or group of people. 5. No links.
All The Rocky Mountain Collegian Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *