Kathy Griffin’s friendship with Anderson Cooper ended after Trump photo


I can’t believe we are still talking about Kathy Griffin’s controversial photo holding a bloodied #45 mask. So many offensive things have happened since then, mostly by #45 and his administration, that have jettisoned this particular controversy from my short-term memory. However, one of those people still talking about it is Kathy herself. I don’t think the argument ‘but the interviewer asked about it’ applies here as well because Kathy’s new tour is called “Laugh Your Head Off” and the promotional image is of Kathy in the same blouse and pose as the photo, only she is holding the earth as opposed to a mask. Kathy gave an in-depth interview to The Cut about the stunt and its aftermath. It’s a great article and if this holds any interest for you, I recommend you read the whole thing. Full-disclosure, I like the article so much because it speaks to exactly how I feel about the situation. I have and do maintain that I thought the photo was distasteful but I was not shocked nor particularly outraged by it. I think #45 was wrong to come after Kathy and that, as usual, the reaction from his supporters was deplorable. However, I also thought Kathy’s handling of the fallout bordered on absurd and, as she admits in the interview, she played the victim. She also, as a few people in the article point out, fed the #45ers exactly what they needed to attack the left.

I also supported Anderson Cooper’s denouncement of Kathy and her photo. Kathy understands it too but said that the amount of time it took Anderson to reach out to her ended their friendship.

Griffin’s best-known celebrity friendship, going back 17 years, is with CNN anchor Anderson Cooper. But after TMZ published the photo, Cooper came under tremendous pressure to repudiate it. Without reaching out to Griffin, he tweeted the same night: “For the record, I am appalled by the photo shoot Kathy Griffin took part in. It is clearly disgusting and completely inappropriate.” Griffin acknowledges that Cooper was in an untenable position, but she feels that their long friendship afforded her a call or text message beforehand.

In the following days, Griffin says four of Cooper’s CNN colleagues reached out repeatedly to Griffin to check on her and offer private support (I independently confirmed this). But Cooper didn’t contact Griffin until August 10, CNN confirmed to me.

On July 26, when asked about Griffin on Andy Cohen’s talk show, Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen, Cooper claimed that Griffin was still a friend. “Yeah, we’re still friends, and look I said what I said about — I didn’t think what she said was appropriate, but I wish her the best and I hope she bounces back,” he told Cohen.

The fact that Cooper was telling people publicly they were friends, while not checking in with her, hurt Griffin deeply. When he finally reached out to her in a series of text messages, she told him their friendship was over.
A source close to Cooper tells me that Cooper was “shocked and upset by the photo, and while he was not ready to talk to her personally about it, he still considered her to be a friend, and was publicly supportive when asked about the controversy.”

[The Cut]

This will not be a popular opinion but I see both sides on this. I get that Anderson was a close friend and regardless of Kathy’s own exploitation of her actions, she was probably hurt by his radio silence as she came under attack. I wonder, though, if Anderson didn’t feel he deserved a heads up before the photo was posted. Most people know they’re friends, he’s a journalist on a news station that is directly in #45’s sights and is run by Jeff Zucker, who gave Kathy her comeback. Of course he had to denounce it. I’ll bet the calls started coming in the minute that photo went live and Anderson was caught completely unprepared. That would tick me off. As for Kathy being fired from her New Year’s Eve gig, based on reading this article, I think that’s all on Zucker. I think he and Kathy have been at loggerheads for years and this just gave him the excuse he needed.

Unrelated to Anderson but the article mentioned that amidst all the people telling Kathy the photo was a dumb move, the one call that made her realize she crossed a line was from Rosie O’Donnell. Rosie asked: “What is James Foley’s mom going to think when she sees this?” Journalist James Foley was beheaded by ISIS, most of which was broadcasted in a viral video. It speaks volumes that it was Rosie who showed Kathy her error in judgement, lord knows there’s no love lost between #45 and Rosie.

As I said, the article is comprehensive. It’s shows how Kathy is still using the controversy to her advantage. It also notes that Kathy talked throughout about all the support she received however no public figures would comment on the record when asked. It also details how every one of the politicians who embraced Kathy’s endorsement (and massive fundraising efforts), turned their backs or cancelled events arranged by or involving Kathy. I get why Anderson’s snub cut the deepest but he was not alone in distancing himself from this until it blew over. Of course, in order for it to blow over, Kathy would have to stop talking about it.



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24 Responses to “Kathy Griffin’s friendship with Anderson Cooper ended after Trump photo”

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  1. Skylark says:

    I had no probs with the trump pic – talk about a storm in a teacup – but I don’t like Griffin or the snivelling Anderson so really couldn’t care less about their friendship fall-out.

    • Pandy says:

      I do not have any issues with the pic either. She’s a comic. Her job is to instigate. AC spends three hours a night picking apart all things Trump (rightfully so) but threw her under the bus. I wouldn’t be his friend again either. #TeamGriffinAllTheWay

    • Rascalito says:

      Her holding Donald Trump’s severed head was just women’s locker room talk.

  2. Maple Girl says:

    I also see both sides of the story, but for lifelong friends, he should have reached out to her before or right after the tweet.

    • OG OhDear says:

      I get why he tweeted what he tweeted, but I think he acted badly here. She says that not only did he not give her a heads up, he waited weeks before reaching out to her even though he was telling outlets that they were still close friends. Honestly, I completely get why she’s so pissed. He can’t have it both ways.

    • Megan says:

      Yeah, but friends screw up sometimes. I’d be reluctant to let go of a long time friend over this. She knew she put Anderson in a difficult place. I think he kept saying they were friends to let her know he was in a tough spot.

  3. AnnaKist says:

    She was being interviewed via satellite on one of our inane breakfast shows, yesterday, I think. When asked about the tRump fiasco, she told the female interviewer, “You’re full of shit! ” The interviewer is a ninny, but, still…rude. I can’t stand CG.

  4. OG OhDear says:

    Sort of related, but the author of The Cut article also tweeted some tidbits about the Kardashian Wests (they and Griffin are neighbors). Apparently the KWs are very good neighbors, Kim was supportive of KG when the whole thing went down and continues to be supportive, plus when KG’s mom is feeling lonely Kim brings the kids over.

  5. ArchieGoodwin says:

    well, look. He knows her better than we do. He knows and has experienced first hand how she handles her life, issues and consequences of her actions. He knows if she accepts responsibility or makes excuses, if she tries to learn from the past or is doomed to repeat it.

    And has been her friend through it all. So, if this instance he chose not to contact her right away, his silence speaks volumes. Some of us talked the other day about setting boundaries in friendships. He said what he thought best in public, though it is unfair to ask that of him.

    It is ok to take breaks from people. Especially in a self created drama.

    Also, it is not only her ideas of friendship that are in play here. She doesn’t get to define their friendship based only on what he contributes, at her whim.

    Personally, he’s better off. Who needs this level of crap?

    • Enough Already says:

      Completely agree. He is not some monkey on a string he was half of a friendship. It hit a bump and both chose to handle it in their own way. Griffin didn’t think Cooper reached out in time and Cooper thought Griffin crossed the line. Hurt feelings ensued but by her own admission Griffin ended the relationship. It was a hasty, petulant decision she will more than likely regret. Cooper had the right to process his reaction on his own timetable. Who does she think she is?

      • tty says:

        Agree. This is only a small part of her antics that we see. Who knows what kind of sh!t he’s put up with from her before. It’s also not the first time her actions have landed him in a tough spot professionally. She’s exhausting, and I’m not surprised if he’s decided he’s had enough.

    • mia girl says:

      I agree with both of you.

      Kathy has a right to do what she did, but she needs to own that she did it and there are repercussions to her choices.

      Aside from their friendship, Griffin and Cooper also had a working partnership with their New Year’s program that was jeopardized by what she did. And as @Hecate points out (and Kathy herself), the way she handled the whole thing in the days after hurt more than helped. I think Cooper was put in a terrible, complicated position.

      Plus, let’s be honest – she is still trying to play the victim by now talking about her lost friendship with Cooper. She could have talked about the public backlash and not specifically about cutting off her friendship with him. She name checked him because she hoped it would give her some sympathy.

    • lucy2 says:

      I agree completely too.
      I thought the stunt she and the photographer did was gross and way over the line (and I hate Cheeto Mussolini) and I don’t blame him for stepping back. I have friends who I need a break from, and none of them have done anything even close to that.

      Side note, I’ve always found her extremely obnoxious.

      • Ksenia says:

        She’s insufferable. A pathological fame whore who couldn’t make it as a famous *anything* in Hollywood, so resorts to telling jokes and “secrets” about real celebrities/actors. She is always hoping some of their fame will rub off on her; and her jokes are, to me, far more bitter and ugly than funny. She’s the girl who was bullied throughout high school but always wanted to be popular; “making fun” of the popular is the closest that she can get to them. She’s all cheap shots, nothing more. I’m glad her self centeredness is finally doing her in.

    • Carrie1 says:

      Bullshit. Anderson enjoyed “this level of crap” every New Year’s Eve and it helped build his career. Kathy being obnoxious built their NY eve every year.

      I don’t care for Kathy professionally but as a human being, she’s neither the worst nor is she always obnoxious. She’s a comedian. Most in that profession are at times obnoxious.

      Of all the fallout from this, I immediately had same thought as Rosie O and was surprised Kathy did this. And Al Franken is also in a much more compromised (if you’re a childish wuss I guess?) professional role and he handled it exactly right.

      Anderson lost my respect over how he handled this. Serious bad move and of course it ends a friendship. He’s an immature user. Glad she found out now rather than later.

  6. lem says:

    i was so pissed when she pulled that stunt. she knew it would be a huge controversy and it gave the right fuel. if the left is going to (rightfully) criticize people like ted nugent for his comments re obama, we have to be better than that and not stoop to the same levels. and rosie was right—that kind of thing isn’t funny. it’s horrifying.

  7. Radley says:

    Meh. Perfection is not a requirement for friendship. Otherwise we’d all be friendless. There’s fault to be found on both sides. I think they can both move past it in time. One of them needs to make the first move though. Or a mutual friend needs to mediate. No need to make their friendship collateral damage in the Trump sh!tstorm of 2017.

  8. Enough Already says:

    Zero f–ks to give. Griffin probably thought her friendship with Cooper would insulate her from some of the fallout. She wanted to use the country’s hatred of Trump as a PR boost but forgot that we are angry, disgusted and afraid, not vile, petty and violent. Imo she trued to use Cooper and popular sentiment to her own advantage and it backfired. Her 15 minutes was a few decades too long anyway.

  9. jferber says:

    I agree, Radley. In the long run, true friends do f–k up sometimes and hopefully there’s a way to make it right eventually.

  10. Anoneemouse says:

    She tweets something controversial and inappropriate; he responds; she gets offended?
    She then apologizes for the “inappropriate” picture.
    She then waits 2 months and retracts her apology.
    And then ends her friendship with Anderson?
    She claims she posted the pic because of her right to “free speech.”
    Wasn’t Anderson’s response to her pic his right to “free speech?”
    Did I miss something?

  11. littlemissnaughty says:

    No. He was a bad friend and that’s that. Do we remember how long it took him to make his opinion known about Trump? The man was a disgrace and Cooper stayed journalist-neutral for months. Sometimes your humanity comes before being a reporter. It took him 2 seconds to sh*t on her. How does that add up? She made a mistake and did something disgusting. It cost her jobs. It landed Trump in the White House. Perspective, people.

    • Carrie1 says:

      Yep. Al Franken didn’t tweet about her. He handled it well. He said she was wrong, he was disappointed, but she is still a friend. Which is what a mature professional does when handling life properly.

      Judging your friends publicly before reaching out privately when they need support is a seriously messed up move. Nobody deserves friends like that.

  12. CharlotteCharlotte says:

    Kathy is using her exposure, like her or not, to stand up for what she believes in. You don’t have to agree with her, but it’s her right to do it. She’s being true to herself. Good for her.
    I don’t like that the picture gave the mm something to target, and I don’t like the good people who were hurt by it, but she was making a point that I agree with. 45 needs to go. All of his ilk need to go.