Amy Schumer and other public figures are defending Gayle King after the CBS This Morning host received harassment and death threats for asking about Kobe Bryant’s sexual assault case during an interview with WNBA star Lisa Leslie.
“I stand fiercely with @gayleking one of the most beloved journalists, mothers and friends of our time,” Schumer wrote on Instagram Saturday. “However you feel about her interview, her receiving serious death threats is disgustingly unfair and unacceptable. Shame on you CBS for putting her in this position. #standwithgayle.” Schumer’s post was liked by model Ashley Graham.
On Tuesday, King interviewed Leslie, a friend of Bryant who died in a January helicopter crash in California, with his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven more people. During their conversation, King brought up Bryant’s 2003 sexual assault case, brought forth by a 19-year-old hotel employee, the charges of which were later dismissed.
In her CBS This Morning interview, Leslie said she hadn’t seen Bryant "do something to violate a woman or be aggressive in that way. That's just not the person that I know."
King responded, "But Lisa you wouldn't see it, though. As his friend, you wouldn't see it."
Leslie said, "And that's possible. I just don't believe that...” When King raised the question of whether the issue was fair to ask, 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. I mean, he went to — it went to trial."
Social media was not kind to King, with actress Vivica A. Fox and rappers 50 Cent and Snoop Dogg contributing. This week, Snoop Dogg released a NSFW-rant about the talk show host, writing in his video caption, “P. S. A. Let the family mourn in peace” with the hashtag #gayleking. NBA star Isaiah Thomas, former NFL star Reggie Bush and model Naomi Campbell shared their support on the rapper’s post.
King released a Twitter video to explain the CBS This Morning clip. She 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. 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. 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.”
She also complained that her network took “the most salacious part, when taken out of context” and she praised Kobe as someone who was “very kind and very warm to me.”
“I too am mourning his loss just like everybody else....” said King. “The last thing I would want to do is disparage him at this particular time and I hope people understand that...”
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