So the other day, Kathy Griffin posted the now infamous President Trump severed head picture. She thought she was being cutting edge and cool, making a statement. Then yesterday I saw her crying about how the Trumps were bullying her and she has secured a lawyer, I guess to bring some sort of lawsuit against the president of the United States and in that moment I understood, she doesn’t understand cause and effect. Do you?
Now let’s start off with the basics. First this is not a political post, it’s meant to get us thinking about our own actions as we put our creations out for the world to see. For the record, I am not a huge fan of the president, but he is the president of the country where I live and as such, I want him to do great things. Likewise I am not a huge fan of Ms. Griffin. I’ve seen her be funny and I have seen her be over the top and vulgar. In my opinion, the Trump photo crossed a line. That being said, I am a big fan of the first amendment. Now I believe there are extenuating legal circumstances about doing things like this with the president, and I’m not a lawyer, but if those laws were not violated, Ms. Griffin is within her rights to make this photo and share it. I support her right, not because I like her expression, but because I like the freedom to make mine. Is that clear enough?
That being said, while she may have been within her rights to post the picture, it seems she expected there would be no fall out. If that is indeed the case, that was not a reasonable expectation. This is cause and effect and it’s important that we see it as creatives. You may have the right to create something and post something, but others have the right to react to your creation as well. In Ms. Griffin’s case, CNN fired her from what was no doubt a lucrative gig as host of their New Years Eve show, not doubt costing her hundreds of thousands of dollars. The photo was the cause, the loss of the gig is the effect. Now consider all the others who may not want to be associated with this controversy and the end result could have cost her millions. Again cause and effect.
In the same way, we may have something to say as creatives but before we share that creation with the world, we have to consider cause and effect. As Jesus said, “Count the cost.” Will making this statement and venting this frustration be worth the possible fall out? If you believe it will, create it, post it and stand behind it. That’s your right, but understand you also own the fall out.
That’s the other side of this Kathy Griffin story. She now says she is being bullied by the Trumps. I don’t know that this is true. Post a picture of my severed head and you probably won’t see my good side, though my turn the other cheek skills are getting better. Again, though, I don’t think she is seeing cause and effect. She wasn’t fired by the Trumps. She was fired by the news agency who pretty much hates the president the most. I was a little surprised that they didn’t give her an award. For CNN to fire you over something you did to president Trump shows how reprehensible they thought this statement was.
At the end of the day creatives, like it or not we stand behind our creations, so it is very important that we make our choices wisely and count the cost. You might need to take a cool off period before you hit send or post. You might need to rethink what you’re trying to say and of course you’ll want to ask yourself am I speaking the truth in love. It’s cause and effect. Make sure of your cause, because you’re likely to feel the effect.