Comedian Kathy Griffin, who caught heat last week after posing with a facsimile of President Donald Trump’s severed head, said during a press conference Friday that Trump and his family have targeted her for retaliation, and that she is now the subject of a Secret Service investigation over the photo.
While Griffin’s attorney, Lisa Bloom, called the situation “outrageous and unprecedented,” that’s not entirely true — at least not the “unprecedented part.” Read on for other entertainers who came under government scrutiny.
In the ’80s, Milt Ahlerich. FBI assistant director of the FBI’s office of public affairs, wrote a letter to rap group N.W.A’s label Priority Records, saying that 78 police officers were “feloniously slain in the line of duty during 1988 . . . and recordings such as the one from N.W.A are both discouraging and degrading to these brave, dedicated officers,” a reference to the N.W.A song “F–k Tha Police.”
“I wanted you to be aware of the FBI’s position relative to this song and its message. I believe my views reflect the opinion of the entire law enforcement community,” the letter continued.
“Rocky Mountain High” singer John Denver was the subject of an FBI file that labeled the folk singer a narcotics user and noted his scheduled appearance a a 1971 anti-war rally in Minnesota.
Ill-fated Playboy Playmate/actress Anna Nicole Smith was investigated by the FBI in 2000 and 2001 over an alleged murder-for-hire plot against E. Pierce Marshall, the son of Smith’s oil-tycoon husband J. Howard Marshall, who fought to prevent Smith from inheriting his father’s fortune.
Silent-film legend Charlie Chaplin was the subject of a decades-long probe by the FBI, which sought to determine if he was a Communist. The final entry in Chaplin’s FBI file was made in 1978, a year after the actor’s death.
In the 1960s, the FBI requested to interview actor Rock Hudson, stemming from the belief that the actor had “homosexual tendencies.” The interview, the bureau noted, was to be conducted by “two mature experienced Special Agents.”
“I Love Lucy” star Lucille Ball earned a place on the FBI’s radar because her possible Communist ties. The actress had admitted to the House Un-American Activities Committee that she had registered to vote as a Communist in 1936, saying that she only did so to satisfy her socialist grandfather. The HUAC let her off the hook, but the FBI continued to amass information on her nonetheless.
Thanks to his alignment with the anti-war movement, former Beatle John Lennon was placed under FBI surveillance in 1971, with the INS launching a campaign to deport the musician the following year. The FBI noted that “Lennon should be arrested, if at all possible, on possession of narcotics charges … which would make him more immediately deportable.”
In Mach, after Snoop Dogg released the video “Lavender,” which featured the rapper shooting a clown-faced Donald Trump stand-in with a toy gun, a spokesman for the Secret Service told TheWrap that the Service was “aware of” the video, declining further public comment.