By Frederick M. Brown/.
What does one do with a photo of a self-declared C-list comedian holding the severed head of a sitting president? Keep it on an external hard drive where the rest of one’s digital regrets are stored? Try to forget it forever? Not the man who took the photo of Kathy Griffin holding an effigy of Donald Trump’s head covered in blood (ketchup). Photographer Tyler Shields is reportedly fielding offers—many offers—to buy the original print three months after the shit-storm blew over, according to TMZ.
Griffin has no part in the potential sale, and has been nothing but regretful since the photograph made waves in the latter days of May, attracting a tsk-tsk from Trump. She held a whole press conference to mea culpa for half an hour. She lost a friend in Anderson Cooper, with whom she used to host CNN’s New Year’s Eve show before the network dropped her. He publicly denounced what she had done. Who could wish that on anyone? She appears to have rinsed her hands of this blip in her career.
But the really wild thing about the offers is that there’s not just one person who wants it, apparently. There are “over 1,000” mystery people who have made an offer, some reaching six figures, according to TMZ’s unnamed source who is “close” to Shields. The highest bid has reportedly been $150,000, but Shields turned it down because he thinks he can go higher. Who are these people? “Art collectors”? Is that you, Melania? I . . . vana?
Vanity Fair has reached out to Shields to confirm the estimate, but on Wednesday he tweeted, “Don’t believe everything you read people love to make shit up.”
This was prior to TMZ publishing its story, so whether his missive was intentionally timed gossip counterintelligence or unrelated kismet is unclear. Much of Shields’s past work has attracted similar kinds of controversy, with reports of six-figure offers often tossed around to help generate interest. Just a few years ago, he said he paid $100,000 for a Birkin bag that he in turn destroyed for a photoshoot, but bag experts appraised it as a fake. There was some mystery around whether anyone could even pay that much for a $40,000 bag. Anyway. Whether or not any big payday comes of all this, we’re already puzzling over how to fit all this into the story we’ll tell our grandkids about the year of our Lord 2017.
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