LOS ANGELES – CNN said on Wednesday it has terminated comedian Kathy Griffin's agreement to appear on the network's annual New Year's Eve broadcast after she drew strong criticism for posing in photographs with a fake severed head resembling President Donald Trump's.
CNN's public relations department announced the decision in a Twitter post.
Trump said earlier that Griffin "should be ashamed of herself" for the photos showing her with a replica of a severed, bloodied head resembling his.
"My children, especially my 11-year-old son, Barron, are having a hard time with this. Sick!" the president said in a Twitter message.
The U.S. Secret Service, responsible for presidential security, has opened an inquiry into the posting of Griffin posing with the severed-head replica, a spokesman in Los Angeles said when asked whether the agency was looking into the incident as a potential threat on the president's life.
"We're aware of it and we're investigating it," the spokesman, George Fernandez, told Reuters. He declined to elaborate.
A New Mexico casino, the Route 66 Casino Hotel west of Albuquerque, said it had canceled an appearance by Griffin scheduled for July 22.
Griffin apologized in a video posted to Twitter late on Tuesday.
"I'm a comic… I move the line and then I cross it… I went way too far," she said. "The image is too disturbing… I ask your forgiveness."
Celebrity news website TMZ published a behind-the-scenes video on Tuesday of Griffin posing with the model head for a photo shoot. She is seen reviewing the photos with photographer Tyler Shields and jokingly saying, "We have to move to Mexico today because we're going to go to prison, federal prison."
TMZ posted an image from the shoot on Twitter.
"This is vile and wrong," Chelsea Clinton, daughter of former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, wrote on Twitter. "It is never funny to joke about killing a president."
Trump's oldest son, Donald Trump Jr., called on sponsors of Griffin, including CNN, to condemn the comedian.
(Additional reporting by Laila Kearney in New York)