Kathy Griffin, the 56-year old comedian known for her anti-Trump stance, is currently under fire for a photo she posted on social media that immediately went viral. Griffin posted a photo of her holding a bloodied fake head that looks like United States President Donald Trump. The edgy comedian is currently under the scrutiny of the Secret Service, who responded to Griffin's post on social media by saying that they were evaluating the threat.

Is she guilty of a crime?

Threats against high-ranking officials such as the president, president-elect, vice president or vice president-elect is a Class E Felony under federal law.

The term "threat" is described to include intentions to take the life, kidnap, or inflict harm to any particular official. However, there is still the question of whether or not Griffin's grotesque expression on social media is categorized as a willful threat against the president.

First Amendment rights

According to Stanford University Law Professor Nathaniel Persily, the photo that was posted online is in fact protected under the First Amendment. The law expert explained that while the photo was going a bit too far, it is still categorized as an "artistic expression" by Griffin and the Los Angeles photographer Tyler Shields.

Wishing the president dead is not a crime. A valid threat requires words and a call to action, both of which were not present in the photos and videos.

Additionally, Persily cautioned that any attempt to prosecute Griffin would only end up bringing more attention to her grievances and expose more people to it.

Public apology

Shortly after the Secret Service responded to Griffin's post, the comedian immediately posted an apology video on Twitter and explained that she was aware that she had crossed the line.

She profusely apologized to everyone who were offended by the photos and videos and mentioned that she has already asked Shields to take it all down.

Public reaction

Aside from the Secret Service, other politicians and celebrities went online to express their disgust over the crude political post.

Donald Trump Jr. even mentioned that the post was "disgusting" and urged viewers to imagine what would happen if this was done to Obama during his term. Chelsea Clinton also chimed in and mentioned that the post was "vile" and that it was "never funny to joke about killing a president." Other personalities, such as actress Alyssa Milano and CNN's Anderson Cooper also expressed their disapproval of the violent post.