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Kathy Griffin can be mean. She’s crass, says gross and inappropriate things and makes fun of people.

Because of this, she has gotten into trouble. Because of this, she has been my favorite comedian since I was a teenager. She points out things in our society that others don’t and oftentimes she says what someone else might be too afraid to say.

I own a DVD of her “Allegedly” tour from 2004 and, when I had cable, I watched her show “My Life on the D-List” with great excitement. I remember when she went through her divorce and when, for publicity’s sake, she dated Nick Carter of the Backstreet Boys. I admired her as a strong, honest, funny brave and feisty woman.

I still do.

Before the controversial photo of Kathy holding a Trump mask covered in blood was unveiled two weeks ago, I was finally going to get the chance to see her performance live. By the time Kathy was apologizing, I had already reached my peak excitement at seeing her at Napa’s Uptown Theatre. I was going to cover the event for our features section and had pipe dreams of meeting her.

Kathy and I would surely be great friends. I imagined Kathy, Anderson Cooper and I hanging out, chatting about politics, culture, being on TV and, of course, sex.

I’ve looked into seeing her stand-up a few times but never had the money, so when I saw she was coming to Napa, I knew I had to see her somehow. Then the photo happened and my teenage dreams were crushed.

No phone calls with Kathy.

No chatting it up in her limo.

No lunch date with her and Anderson.

Instead of enjoying Kathy’s comedy, I’ve felt the need to defend her right to free speech – not only as a fan but also as someone whose employment depends on it.

When I became a journalist, I tried to stop voicing my opinion so much, especially on social media. I used to get into all sorts of debates on Facebook. I felt like I couldn’t resist pointing out something I thought was wrong, standing up to someone who was being a bully or even playing devil’s advocate just to make people think. It was personal, I’d get angry and then I’d be proud despite not making a very big difference in anyone’s life.

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This pastime was on pause until the crucifixion of Kathy Griffin.

When I think of how she has been bullied, it makes me angry. When I think about CNN and possibly even Anderson Cooper abandoning her, it feels like a personal affront. Why? Why is this such a big deal? She’s human, she makes mistakes, she has apologized.

Has our president ever apologized for things that he said that were crass, inappropriate or offensive?


My dad told me that he liked Donald Trump because he said what’s on other peoples’ minds – because he was honest. Well, dad, that’s why I like Kathy Griffin. And next time she’s in town, I’ll sure as hell be there.

Maria Sestito is the Napa Valley Register public safety reporter. Jersey Girl runs every other Sunday. Follow her on Twitter at @RiaSestito or email her at


Public Safety Reporter

Maria Sestito is the Napa Valley Register public safety reporter. She covers breaking news as well as crime and courts. Maria came to the Napa Valley Register in 2015 after working at as a reporter and photographer at The Daily News in Jacksonville, NC.