King speaks in-depth about the backlash she’s recently been receiving following asking Lisa Leslie about Bryant’s past sexual assault case from 2003.
On Thursday morning, King, a CBS This Morning co-anchor posted a video on her Instagram touching on her disapproval of her employer CBS sharing a segment of an interview with Kobe Bryant’s friend, the former WNBA player Lisa Leslie. During the clip, King asked Leslie about Bryant’s rape trial from 2003 and if it is complicated for her as a woman and former professional basketball player.
Leslie responded by stating, “It’s not complicated for me at all… I just never see — have ever seen him being the kind of person that would be — do something to violate a woman or be aggressive in that way. That’s just not the person that I know.” King’s response to this was, “But Lisa, you wouldn’t see it though. As his friend, you wouldn’t see it”
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Bryant was accused by a 19-year-old female hotel concierge of sexual assault. The case was later settled out of court in 2005.
After the clip was posted online, King began receiving an assortment of negative opinions. Users took to social media to express that she was inherently wrong for digging into Bryant’s past. One Twitter user, @JTAndNene wrote, “Gayle King, you are out of line, disrespectful, and wrong on all levels! It’s sad a former WNBA star had to teach you media etiquette.”
#GayleKing Thank you, Lisa Leslie for reminding Gayle King who your friend Kobe was/is to you! Gayle King, you are out of line, disrespectful, and wrong on all levels! It’s sad a former WNBA star had to teach you media etiquette 🤦🏾♂️ pic.twitter.com/2ZPNSicxcP
— J.T.™ (@JTandNene) February 6, 2020
— InFamous L MaLaFama (@badlandz_MaLa) February 6, 2020
Is it a friend thing or a color thing? Either case, u’re recycling racist stereotypes.
— Brotha Wolf (@brotha_wolf) February 6, 2020
Snoop Dogg also took to his Instagram to air out his feelings on King’s question. In his video, he said, “Gayle King, out of pocket for that shit. Way out of pocket. What do you gain from that? We expect more from you Gayle, don’t you hang out with Oprah?”
— Aye Stubbs (@dstubbs1975) February 6, 2020
In response to the backlash, in her own words King shared the following in an Instagram video:
“I’ve been up reading the comments about the interview I did with Lisa Leslie about Kobe Bryant, and I know that if I had only seen the clip that you saw, I’d be extremely angry with me too. I am mortified. I am embarrassed and I am very angry. Unbeknownst to me, my network put up a clip from a very wide-ranging interview — totally taken out of context — and when you see it that way, it’s very jarring. It’s jarring to me. I didn’t even know anything about it.”
She went on to note:
“I started getting calls. ‘What the hell are you doing? Why did you say this? What is happening?’ I did not know what people were talking about. So I’ve been told, been advised to say nothing, just let it go. ‘People will drag you, people will troll you, it’ll be over in a couple of days.’ But that’s not good enough for me because I really want people to understand what happened here and how I’m feeling about it.”
In the clip, she expanded on selecting Lisa Leslie for the interview:
“I reached out to Lisa — because I know she’s a longtime friend of Kobe’s — to talk about his legacy and their friendship. We had a really wide-ranging interview, talked about many things: his career, his passion, his sense of humor, the way he was mentoring other people, how he was starting his next chapter, it was wide-ranging. And yes, we talked about that court case because that court case has also come up.”
King then shared that she believed the clip was taken “out of context.” She also said for the network to share just that portion of the interview is “very upsetting… and that’s something I’m going to have to deal with, with them. There will be a very intense discussion about that.”
She finished the video with the following:
“I have been with Kobe Bryant on many social occasions. He was very kind and very warm to me and I felt we had a friendly relationship. I too am mourning his loss just like everybody else. I still am shocked by it. It’s tragic and untimely and the last thing I would want to do is disparage him at this particular time … and that’s why I’m taking this time to speak to you directly, I’ve never done one of these before, but this is so important to me that I felt I had to say something. I don’t want to sit up on a set and read a prepared remark. I wanted you to hear exactly where I’m coming from and how I’m feeling, and to let everybody know that no disrespect intended … I thank you for listening.”
Take a look at her entire video below.
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Take a look at Ari Lennox’s take on Gayle King’s interview clip from CBS featuring Lisa Leslie below.
— quickwiththetea (@quickwiththetea) February 5, 2020
Robyn Mowatt is a staff writer at Okayplayer where she covers culture, music, and fashion. You can see what's on her mind @robyn_mowatt.