CBS This Morning anchor Gayle King went rogue Thursday morning and shared a video criticizing CBS for posting a “salacious” clip from her interview this week with WNBA star Lisa Leslie about Kobe Bryant.
The late Los Angeles Lakers star, his daughter, and seven others were killed in a helicopter crash on Jan. 26.
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In her interview, King asked Bryant’s good friend Leslie about his 2003 sexual assault case in Colorado, sparking anger from fans. On Thursday King took to social media to say the portion of the interview posted online was taken out of context.
“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,” King said in a two-part video on Instagram.
“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 added.
Bryant reached an out-of-court settlement with his accuser. He issued a statement and admitted their sexual encounter may not have seemed consensual to her.
King noted that the five-time NBA champion had a “complicated” past in the interview with Leslie. “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 asked.
Leslie replied, “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.”
Fans criticized King, saying her questions were disrespectful.
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The journalist revealed she was urged to ignore the backlash, but decided to speak out.
“I’ve been advised to say nothing, just let it go. ‘People will drag you, people will troll you. It will 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,” she explained.
“For the network to take the most salacious part, when taken out of context, and put it up online … is very upsetting to me,” King added. “The last thing I would want to do is disparage him at this particular time.”
CBS later responded to her criticism by issuing a statement.
“Gayle conducted a thoughtful, wide-ranging interview with Lisa Leslie about the legacy of Kobe Bryant,” the statement said. “An excerpt was posted that did not reflect the nature and tone of the full interview. We are addressing the internal process that led to this and changes have already been made.”