American comedian and television host Kathy Griffin has been fired by CNN after she posted a photo which showed her holding a decapitated model head that resembled US President Donald Trump.

The network announced that it had "terminated" it's agreement with Griffin to host its annual New Year's Eve coverage with Anderson Cooper, 24 hours after the controversial image was posted online.

Griffin has co-hosted the holiday special since 2007. News anchor Cooper took to Twitter to voice his opinion on the debacle, saying he is "appalled" and the photo is "clearly disgusting".

Trump made his thoughts known on Twitter, saying his 11-year-old son Barron is "having a hard time with this".

US first lady Melania Trump also blasted the photo in her own statement saying it was "very disturbing". 

"When you consider some of the atrocities happening in the world today, a photo opportunity like this is simply wrong and makes you wonder about the mental health of the person who did it", she said.

There was condemnation on both the left and the right in the US on Wednesday after the photoshoot and 12-second video clip by celebrity photographer Tyler Shields was posted online, with Griffin soon taking to Twitter to apologise for her actions.

"I sincerely apologise," she said in a video posted on Tuesday afternoon in the US. "I am just now seeing the reaction of [sic] these images."

"The image is too disturbing. I understand how it offends people… I get it," the Emmy and Grammy winner continued.

"I beg for your forgiveness. I went too far. I made a mistake, and I was wrong." 

The photo controversy took place on the same day as Donald Trump's "covfefe" typo on Twitter which sent social media into a frenzy, with people trying to determine what it could mean.