The level to which political discourse in this country has plummeted in the wake of President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign and election was plainly revealed for all to see when failed and unfunny comedian Kathy Griffin held aloft a mock severed head resembling the president for a recent photo shoot.
While Griffin’s stunt was widely condemned on all points of the political spectrum, a gas station in Nashville, Tennessee, decided to stoop to her level and fight fire with fire, offering up a massive reward for the delivery of Griffin’s own head, according to The Tennessean.
Scrolling across the bottom portion of a digital sign in front of the Lewis Country Store on Friday was a message that read: “$50,000 reward for Kathy Griffin’s head delivered.”
A passing motorist snapped pictures of the message and sent them to the newspaper along with an email that read: “I know this seems like a bad joke, but is this legal? I’m not sure if this is covered by free speech.”
Distasteful as it may be to some, the sign didn’t violate any laws, at least according to a lawyer for the Metropolitan Government of Nashville’s Department of Law.
“There does not appear to be an obvious violation of the Metropolitan Code of Laws,” stated attorney Tara Ladd in an email to The Tennessean. “Generally, the First Amendment protects even speech that may be construed as offensive.”
It is worth noting that the message calling for Griffin’s head only lasted part of the way through the day, as the sign was eventually reprogrammed to read: “America first, screw the rest of y’all.”
Nor is this the first time that the Lewis Country Store has garnered attention with a brash message on its digital sign, as it displayed messages in October 2016 reading “#Trump that b****” and “Never Forget Benghazi” — obviously in reference to failed Democrat nominee Hillary Clinton — which resulted in Shell Oil cutting ties with the gas station.
However, the owners of the store are unapologetic when it comes to the messages they place on their digital sign or their unabashed support of Trump — which can be seen on the store’s Facebook page — and stated that they hadn’t removed the Griffin message due to any sort of pressure, but simply because they felt like changing it, which they do quite frequently.
“We are not apologizing for it,” store owner Renee Lewis told The Tennessean. “People that know us know our sign and that we put a lot of stuff up on there.”
“Kathy Griffin said hers was a joke, and that’s fine,” added Lewis. “It’s one bad joke in turn for another, I guess.”
While some may find the message calling for Griffin’s head offensive and in poor taste, others may find it quite humorous and exactly what Griffin deserved to receive after posing “ISIS-style” with a fake severed head of Trump, a sight sure to incite thoughts of violence among the less stable variety of Trump’s perpetually outraged haters.