‘I’d be extremely angry at me, too’: Gayle King responds to criticism over Kobe Bryant rape charge questions

Snoop Dogg expressed outrage over King’s comments Thursday

Gayle King just last year was heralded for holding R. Kelly accountable in a CBS interview about his sex crime allegations. However, her line of questioning about Kobe Bryant’s rape allegations with his friend Lisa Leslie has led to widespread reproval for the journalist.

She has since responded to the backlash, saying the network promoting a "salacious clip" brought her ire from fans of the five-time NBA champion, who was killed along with his daughter Gianna, 13, and seven others in a helicopter crash last week.

The 65-year-old “CBS Morning News” anchor posted two live videos to her Twitter on Thursday morning, expressing that she was “mortified” by what the interview questions might imply about her stance on Bryant’s legacy. She admitted that if she saw just the 1-minute, 34-second clip, she would be “extremely angry” at herself, too.

"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 interview − is very upsetting to me, and that's something I'm going to have to deal with with them. There will be intense discussion about that."

What happened in the interview?

King spoke with the WNBA legend Tuesday morning on “CBS This Morning” about her friendship with Bryant and how he championed the WNBA. The veteran journalist at one point in the interview asked about the sexual assault allegations and eventual trial over the charges against the then-Los Angeles Lakers star.

The charges were dismissed in September 2004, and Bryant settled with the alleged victim.

“It’s been said that his legacy is complicated because of the sexual assault charge, which was dismissed in 2003, 2004,” King asked in the interview. “Is it complicated for you as a woman, as a WNBA player?”

Leslie responded by saying her friend’s legacy was not complicated. The 47-year-old, a three-time WNBA MVP, said she recalled going out with Bryant to clubs without issue.

“Kobe’s not the kind of guy — never been like ‘Lis, go get that girl, or ‘tell her or send her this,’ ” she revealed. “I have other NBA friends that are like that. Kobe, he was never like that. I just never see...him being the kind of person that would be, do something to violate a woman or be aggressive in that way.”

King quickly chided back, “But, Lisa, you wouldn’t see it, though. As his friend, you wouldn’t see it.”

Leslie, visibly emotional while answering, responded that she does not believe Bryant would have used “force” to get sex. She went on to say the questions about the rape case are not respectful and that the media has helped keep the case “hanging over his legacy.”

From the response on social media Wednesday, it appeared that several people agreed with Leslie. Some say they felt King attempted to “manipulate” Leslie into criticizing the late NBA star.

Credit: Frazer Harrison

Credit: Frazer Harrison

Snoop Dogg responded with the most annihilating critique of the anchor, pointing out that black people expected more from her interview.

Gayle King −out of pocket for that (expletive) −way outta pocket," he scolded her. "What do you gain from that? We expect more from you Gayle. Don't you hang out with Oprah? Why are y'all attacking us? You didn't come after Harvey (expletive) Weinstein."

His entire response can be found here.

Others chimed in throughout the week about her interview and apology.

Television personality Elgin Charles chimed in Wednesday, saying though he considers King a friend, her question was “unthoughtful” and “unnecessary.”

The CBS anchor had some supporters, who felt she was upholding journalistic standards to ask the “uncomfortable questions.”

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