Kathy Griffin Reveals the Toll Receiving Death Threats Has Taken

Nearly two years after Kathy Griffin shared the extremely controversial and polarizing photo showing a decapitated President Donald Trump, the comedian said she still receives "serious" death threats on the regular, both online and in person.

"I was in London a month ago and I had a driver who took myself and my assistant from London Heathrow to the hotel, and he recognized me from the photo and he said that he was from Morocco and that if we were in Morocco he would cut my tongue off," Griffin said on CBS This Morning on Sunday.

She said the types of death threats made against her vary; sometimes, the FBI will notice threats, call her lawyers and tell them and her to be vigilant. Other times, she said the FBI will reach out and make personal contact with her directly.

"If they deem it to be a threat that is so credible that they need to know that I personally heard it from them, then they call me directly and make sure that they made contact with me personally," she said. "Often they can't tell me the exact details of a threat, but they say, 'OK, this one is serious. We're looking into it; it's an active investigation.'"

Another type requires the FBI to visit the comedian's home unannounced.

"I was in my pajamas and they told me that they had an imminent threat [about] Cesar Sayoc, the MAGA bomber," Griffin recalled of a visit where agents warned her of a threat that involved Cesar Sayoc, who pleaded guilty last week to mailing bombs to political figures who, in his opinion, opposed Trump.

"He had shared his list of like-minded people [that her name was on]," Griffin continued. "I said, 'OK, can you tell me how many people?' They said, 'No.' And I said, 'Alright, can you tell me, am I under an imminent threat this evening? I have a performance this evening.' And they said, 'We can't say.' I said, 'OK, well I understand.' They read me a letter called a duty to warn. I said, 'OK. What advice do you have?' And they said, 'Be vigilant.' And I said, 'OK, see you next time.'"

When asked how the threats affect her, especially while onstage performing stand-up, she said she "kind of flicks the switch."

"I think a lot of comedians are a little compartmentalized in that way. Believe it or not, I really put that stuff to the side," she said. "I'm there ready to go on...I'm so excited to be there, I'm so excited to hopefully give people a couple of hours of laughter and a chance to blow off some steam. I'm actually not really thinking of that part during that."

She added that she also has a "very detailed security apparatus that I didn't used to have to have, so they also are pretty good at setting environments so I can try and focus on being funny."

Despite the death threats, Griffin said she doesn't want anyone feeling sorry for her — and even that she'd choose to share the photo again if given the chance.


"I've learned to much. I think a lot of people would love it if I said, 'Oh, I wish I had never taken that picture. I wish I had never cursed. I wish I had never made this comment or that comment.' But the most important thing that I hope people see is that, long after I kick the bucket, they see the crazy red-haired lady didn't go down," she said.

Photo credit: Vivien Killilea / Contributor / Getty