Gayle King Speaks Out After Kobe Bryant Rape Question Backlash
Gayle King has responded to backlash over her Kobe Bryant sexual assault question.
The CBS This Morning anchor was criticized by fans and celebrities for asking the late basketball star's longtime friend Lisa Leslie about his 2003 rape trial after a clip of the interview went viral on social media.
“It’s been said that his legacy is complicated, because of a sexual assault charge that was dismissed in 2003, 2004. Is it complicated for you, as a woman, as a WNBA player?” King asks in the interview that took place after the death of Bryant and eight other people, including his daughter Gianna, in a helicopter crash on January 26.
"It's not complicated for me at all," Leslie responds before declaring Bryant wasn't the "kind of person that would do something to violate a woman or be aggressive in that way. That's just not the person that I know."
Then, when King suggested that perhaps she did not want to see her good friend in that way, Leslie replied, "That's possible. I just don't believe that."
"I think the media should be more respectful at this time," she added. "If you had questions about it, you had many years to ask him that. I don't think it's something that we should keep hanging over his legacy."
In 2003, the Los Angeles Lakers star was accused of sexually assaulting a 19-year-old hotel employee in Colorado. He was charged with rape, but the case was dropped after his accuser was not willing to testify. The lawsuit was later settled in court, however, the allegations followed him throughout his career.
King's line of questioning in the wake of Bryant's death has not gone over very well and sparked outrage on social media. Celebrities, including Snoop Dogg and 50 Cent, have also shared their reactions to the interview.
On Thursday (February 6), King responded to the backlash by sharing an Instagram video, in which she calls out CBS for posting only a clip of her "wide-ranging" interview with Leslie without providing the full context.
"I know that if I had only seen the clip that you saw, I would be extremely angry with me too. I am mortified. I'm embarrassed and I am very angry," she said. "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."
After explaining that they discussed other things, including Bryant's career, sense of humor and his plans for the future, she admitted that, "Yes, we talked about that court case because that court case has also come up. And I wanted to get Lisa's take on it as a friend who knew him well."
"I felt really good about the interview. So for the network to take the most salacious part, when taken out of context, and put it up online for people who didn't see the whole interview is very upsetting to me," King continued. "There will be a very intense discussion about that."
"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," she added.
You can check out Gayle King's full response, below: