Gayle King’s Questions On Kobe Bryant’s Rape Case Provoke Outcry From Fans, Death Threats
Gayle King asked pointed questions about former NBA star Kobe Bryant in an interview with WNBA star Lisa Leslie regarding his rape case in 2003 when he was accused of sexual assault by a 19-year-old front desk clerk at the Lodge & Spa at Cordillera in Edwards, Colorado. In the interview, King asked the WNBA star, “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?”
“It’s not complicated for me at all,” Leslie responded. “Kobe’s not the kind of guy … I have other NBA friends who are like that. Kobe, he was never like that. I have [never] seen him being the kind of person that would do something to violate a woman or be aggressive in that way.”
At King’s persistent questioning, Leslie responded, “I think that the media should be more respectful at this time. It’s like, if you had questions about it, you’ve had many years to ask him that. I don’t think it’s something that we should keep hanging over his legacy.”
After facing backlash for her comments and questioning, King showed remorse after she posted a video to Instagram regarding her interview with the Los Angeles Sparks player in which she blamed the network for posting a clip that seemed to show her pressing Leslie about Bryant’s rape case.
In the Instagram video post captioned, “My perspective,” the CBS This Morning host said, “I’ve been up reading the comments about the interview I did with Lisa Leslie about Kobe Bryant. 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.”
King is facing major backlash and even death threats over her questions. Responses to her post on Instagram are riddled with comments chastising the host for what many consider a lack of compassion for the family’s mourning of Bryant.
The talk show host began her video saying, “I’ve 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,” she said. “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. And that’s something I am going to have to deal with them. There will be a very intense discussion about that.”
King denied any intention to “disparage” Bryant’s reputation and even claimed to have been friendly with the deceased NBA star.
CBS News spokesperson released the following statement: “Gayle conducted a thoughtful, wide-ranging interview with Lisa Leslie about the legacy of Kobe Bryant. We are addressing the internal process that led to this and changes have already been made.”