After Social Media Dragging, Gayle King Responds To Kobe Bryant Backlash, Throws CBS Under The Bus: “I Am Embarrassed”

Television interviewer and Oprah Winfrey BFF Gayle King has been getting mercilessly dragged on social media for a question posed to Kobe Bryant pal and former WNBA star Lisa Leslie in which King asked Leslie her thoughts on those 2003 rape accusations that Bryant faced in Colorado.

The timing of the question seemed to particularly draw the ire of social media users, with some noting that Bryant died less than 2 weeks ago with his 13 year old daughter and 7 others in a tragic helicopter crash. So social media promptly and extensively went to work on Gayle, bashing the 65 year old for everything from her interview skills to her lacefront wig.

And now King is responding via video, in which she says she is “embarrassed” and also “very angry.”

According to news reports, King is particularly mad at CBS for allowing the clip in which she posed the question to go viral.

“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,” she said 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.”

The question that got King into hot social media water was this:

“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 then 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.”

Not satisfied with that response, King dug deeper.

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

According to King, the fallout was immediate.

“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. So I’ve been told, 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 because I really want people to understand what happened here and how I’m feeling about it.”

Under attack, King opted to throw her employer, CBS, under the bus, saying the network aired the question out of context.

“I felt really good about the interview … so, 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’m going to have to deal with with them. There will be a very intense discussion about that,” she explained.

She then goes on to say she had no beef with Kobe Bryant.

“I also want to say this. I have been with Kobe Bryant on many social occasions. He was very kind and very warm to me and I felt we had a friendly relationship. I too am mourning his loss just like everybody else. I still am shocked by it. It’s tragic and untimely and the last thing I would want to do is disparage him at this particular time … and that’s why I’m taking this time to speak to you directly, I’ve never done one of these before, but this is so important to me that I felt I had to say something. I don’t want to sit up on a set and read a prepared remark. I wanted you to hear exactly where I’m coming from and how I’m feeling, and to let everybody know that no disrespect intended … I thank you for listening.”

At this time, CBS doesn’t appear to have offered an official response.

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