Kathy Griffin says CNN President Jeff Zucker 'started yelling at me' and fired her when she asked for a raise

Kathy Griffin
(Image credit: Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Kathy Griffin says CNN President Jeff Zucker "started yelling at me" and ultimately cut her pay after she asked for more money to host the network's New Year's Eve show.

The comedian recounted to The New York Times calling Zucker 10 days before her New Year's Eve gig with Anderson Cooper in 2016. Griffin says she told Zucker she felt she deserved more than the $80,000 she was being paid because she was doing more prep work than Cooper. The CNN boss "got very offended" by this, Griffin said, alleging, "He started yelling at me and he literally said something like, 'Who do you think you are calling here demanding a raise?' And then something came over me. And I just lost it. I just started screaming. I'm Kathy [beep!] Griffin, Jeff, that's who I am."

Griffin says she then told Zucker she would "feel a lot more comfortable showing up if I got paid what I deserve," and Zucker, interpreting that as a threat to quit the show, reportedly called Griffin's lawyer and fired her. Griffin then called Zucker to ask for the job back, and he did rehire her — but, according to Griffin, not before cutting her pay 20 percent. Zucker told the Times that Griffin making her demand so close to the show was "completely out of line."

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Griffin also discussed the fallout from the infamous 2017 photoshoot that depicted her holding a mask made to look like then-President Donald Trump's severed head, which led CNN to fire her from the New Year's Eve show and replace her with Andy Cohen. Cohen himself sparked some controversy this year after railing against former New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) during the New Year's Eve broadcast, and Griffin questioned to the Times why the network stood by him but fired her, arguing the situations were "apples to apples."

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