Wingnuts Outraged Over Kathy Griffin Still Shrug Over Ted Nugent’s Death Threats
Kathy Griffin, Comedian, Versus Ted Nugent, ‘Musician’
There’s pretty serious daylight between Kathy Griffin and Ted Nugent. Ideologically, Griffin is a moderate liberal who supported Clinton while Nugent, a radical right-winger, backed Trump. And professionally, Kathy Griffin has had a lengthy and successful career as a comic, Ted Nugent, on the other hand, is a one-hit-wonder whose only real claim to fame is the 1977 song “Catch Scratch Fever.”
Griffin made headlines recently after taking part in a photo shoot during which she held up a bloodied, severed head prop resembling Donald Trump. Griffin apologized for the image after it went viral, later explaining it was meant to be a dig on Trump’s “blood coming out of her wherever” insult he hurled at Megyn Kelly during the 2016 presidential race.
The incident predictably drew outrage from the right, but the left was pissed off at Griffin as well. There were a flurry of tweets and posts across social media regarding Griffin’s photo, with many on the left feeling that despite their absolute disgust in Trump’s behavior and their knowing Trump’s presidency has thus far been an abject failure, Griffin’s photo was inappropriate and offensive. In one of the many examples available online, Chelsea Clinton called Griffin’s photo “Vile and wrong.”
This is vile and wrong. It is never funny to joke about killing a president. https://t.co/zIiuKoMyFw
— Chelsea Clinton (@ChelseaClinton) May 30, 2017
But wherever there’s political debate in this country, the ugly face of right-wing hypocrisy is sure to make an appearance. And in the case of Kathy Griffin’s offensive photo, a question naturally emerges regarding how the right treated similar behavior from their own ilk during the eight years in which Barack Obama was President.
During the Obama years, the right-wing would craft Obama effigies and then destroy them in protest with disturbing regularity. These effigies — sometimes done with blatantly racist depictions of the President of the United States — were hung, beheaded, set on fire, torn to shreds, and otherwise obliterated, oftentimes with small crowds of conservatives cheering and celebrating.
As sickening as this behavior was, we never saw anyone from the right openly condemning the creation of those offensive Obama effigies or their subsequent destruction. I haven’t been able to find a single article from a conservative writer where this behavior has been criticized even remotely. As far as I can tell, conservatives who didn’t directly participate either celebrated the free speech of those who did, or turned a blind eye and said nothing at all.
Ted Nugent Threatened The Life Of Barack Obama… Repeatedly
And then there’s the story of Ted Nugent, who repeatedly made threatening remarks against Barack Obama… and who never once drew the ire of conservative America the same way Kathy Griffin had outraged the left recently.
In 2007, Ted Nugent made horrific statements regarding Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, who at the time were facing off in the 2008 Democratic Primary:
“Obama, he’s a piece of shit. I told him to suck on my machine gun. Hey Hillary, you might want to ride one of these into the sunset, you worthless bitch.”
In 2012, Ted Nugent revisited his threatening hate speech by claiming he’d be “dead or in jail” if Obama won reelection, while also encouraging conservatives to behead their political rivals.
“If Barack Obama becomes the President in November again, I will either be dead or in jail by this time next year […] We need to ride into that battlefield and chop their heads off in November.”
Why Does Ted Nugent Get A Free Pass From The Right?
Donald Trump was furious over Kathy Griffin’s photo, but with regards to Ted Nugent, America’s first Orange President was clearly considerably more relaxed.
Ted Nugent was obviously using a figure of speech, unfortunate as it was. It just shows the anger people have towards @BarackObama.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 19, 2012
Trump seemed to forget about Ted Nugent’s vileness completely when he invited Ted Nugent to campaign with him. Nugent’s remarks also slipped Trump’s pea-sized mind when Nugent, flanked by Sarah Palin and Kid Rock, was invited to the White House earlier this year, a visit during which the trashy low-brow trio posed for a ridiculous photo op in front of a portrait of Hillary Clinton.
When Nugent made his remarks, no one from the right seemed to mind. There was no backlash whatsoever from those same conservatives who were outraged over Kathy Griffin’s thoughtless photo op. In fact, Ted Nugent’s volatile comments were defended by Sean Hannity and in numerous comments online.
Not that we should be surprised, of course. These are the same people who were infuriated over Stephen Colbert’s “Cockholster” joke, while being oblivious to the myriad of homophobic and sexist remarks frequently muttered by right-wing media sociopaths like Rush Limbaugh and Alex Jones.
The right-wing’s hypocrisy reached a boiling point on Friday after Ted Nugent himself attacked Kathy Griffin’s photo, while defending his own disgusting comments. In his view, threatening to shoot and kill democratic primary candidates isn’t a big deal. Neither is vaguely claiming he’d be “dead or in jail,” an obvious reference to some violent act he’d carry out if Obama were to win reelection. But Kathy Griffin, who unlike Ted Nugent is not known for her love of killing defenseless animals or using firearms as props during her live performances, is somehow threatening the President by holding up an obvious prop?
Kathy Griffin’s photo crossed the line. No one on the right or the left is disputing that, not even Griffin herself. But it’s quite frankly impossible to take the right seriously when they so willfully ignore the same behavior from their own side of the aisle… when they’re not cheering that sort of behavior on, of course.
Hypocrisy makes up a pretty big portion of the conservative identity. And the moment conservatives come to realize this, and start to behave like adults and chastise their own community over the sort of behavior Ted Nugent has frequently displayed… that will be the precise moment when the rest of us will decide to start treating them like adults who can contribute something of merit to the conversation. And it won’t happen one second earlier.
Featured photo courtesy of Randy Snyder/ Getty Images
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Matt Terzi is a political satirist and essayist from Binghamton, New York, who has written for some of the most prominent satire publications in the country. He’s now moving into more “serious” subject matter, without losing touch with his comedic roots