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Al Franken responds to calls to cancel appearance with Kathy Griffin due to photo shoot controversy

Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) told CNN Wednesday morning that he still plans to appear with Kathy Griffin at an event in July despite the gruesome images the comedian posted of a replica of President Donald Trump’s head. (Brad Barket/Getty Images for Peabody)

Minnesota Sen. Al Franken, a Democrat, may feel comedian Kathy Griffin went “too far” with her latest project, but he’s refusing to cancel his appearance with her later this summer.

“Kathy’s a friend and she’s a terrific comedian, but this had no business being in our public discourse,” Franken told CNN’s Alisyn Camerota Wednesday morning.

Griffin faced incredible backlash Tuesday for a graphic photo shoot depicting the comedian holding a bloodied and detached replica of President Donald Trump’s head. At the time, Griffin said she and photographer Tyler Shields “are not afraid to do images that make noise.”

Several hours after the gruesome photos surfaced, Griffin released an apology video, acknowledging she “went way too far.”

Franken told Camerota that Griffin deserves forgiveness because she was very open about the fact that she went too far.

“She actually begged for forgiveness,” the lawmaker said. “And I believe in forgiveness.”

When the photos first appeared, it was unknown whether or not Franken would cancel his appearance with Griffin on July 7 in Beverly Hills, California. Minnesota GOP chairwoman Jennifer Carnahan called on Franken to cancel his appearance with the controversial comedian.

Despite the roundly condemned photos, though, Franken told Camerota he still plans to appear with Griffin in July.

But it doesn’t appear everyone is feeling as forgiving as Franken.

CNN’s Anderson Cooper, who hosts his network’s annual New Year’s Eve event with Griffin, tweeted that he was “appalled” by the comedian’s gory pictures of the president. He said the photos were “clearly disgusting and completely inappropriate.”

CNN announced late Tuesday it is “evaluating” Griffin’s future at the news network.

“We are evaluating our New Year’s Eve coverage and have made no decisions at this point,” the statement read.

For his part, Trump said Griffin “should be ashamed of herself,” adding that his children — especially his 11-year-old son Barron — are “having a hard time” dealing with the bloody images.

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