Gayle King Stands by Interview Question About Kobe Bryant’s Rape Case
In an interview with Lisa Leslie, King asked about Bryant’s 2003 case and got a wave of backlash after the video clip circulated.
“Is it complicated for you, as a woman?” Gayle King asked this question in an interview clip she says was taken out of context after receiving backlash for asking a WNBA player about Kobe Bryant’s sexual assault case.
The clip is from a longer interview with Lisa Leslie, a WNBA player and close friend of Bryant’s. The full interview aired on CBS This Morning on Tuesday, but a portion of the conversation was posted to the show’s Twitter account.
.@WNBA legend @LisaLeslie told @GayleKing that Kobe Bryant's legacy is "not complicated" for her despite his 2003 rape accusation.— CBS This Morning (@CBSThisMorning) February 4, 2020
"I don't think it's something that we should keep hanging over his legacy." https://t.co/qj6MVvOaqX pic.twitter.com/9qtVORobLO
“It’s been said that his legacy is complicated because of a sexual assault charge which was dismissed in 2003, 2004, “ King said in the clip. “Is it complicated for you, as a woman? As a WNBA player?”
Leslie responded by saying, “It’s not complicated for me at all.” She added that she “has never seen him being the kind of person” that would “violate a woman.”
“But Lisa,” King responded, “you wouldn’t see it though. As a friend, you wouldn’t see it.”
The short clip sparked a wave of reactions across the internet. It also caught the attention of Snoop Dogg, who criticized King on his Instagram for being “out of pocket.”
“What do you gain from that?” Snoop said in an Instagram video. “We expect more from you Gayle.”
The rapper also went on to post several photos of King, including one of her with Harvey Weinstein.
In 2003, Kobe Bryant was accused of raping a 19-year-old hotel employee in Colorado. He was charged with sexual assault and false imprisonment but the charges were later dropped when the alleged victim was unwilling to testify in court. The case has been a complicated topic of discussion since his sudden death in January, when the helicopter he was on crashed, killing everyone on board, including his 13-year-old daughter Gianna.
King has since responded with two videos on her Twitter account, saying that the clip is from a much longer interview with Leslie and covers a wide variety of topics around her friendship with Bryant.
“I know that if I had only seen the clip that you saw, I’d be extremely angry with me, too,” King said in her video. “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 jarring.”
King also said she spoke to Leslie about Bryant’s legacy, his hard work, and many other things. She said she asked Leslie about the court case to get her perspective as a friend.
“It was very powerful, when she looked me in the eye as a member of the media, to say it’s time for the media to leave it alone and to back off,” King said. “During the course of the interview, I asked follow-up questions because I wanted to make sure that her position and perspective were very clear.”
Several people on Twitter have since posted mixed opinions to King’s interview clip with Leslie.
Defending Snoop Dogg and other men engaging in misogynoir against Gayle King for being a journalist who discussed rape in an interview further proves the point that we live in a culture where Black women aren't allowed to have a voice or an opinion about anything.— Ernest Owens (@MrErnestOwens) February 6, 2020
Oh Gayle. 😔 I get wanting to discuss Kobe's life outside of basketball, but it was too soon for this. Lisa gave respectful answers tho, but then again why did she continue discussing it with Gayle or even say anything? Did Kobe's family know ahead of time about this? #GayleKing https://t.co/oG2muglxI2— Jamila Young (@JY26) February 6, 2020