Gayle King found herself in some hot water this week for a line of questioning while interview WNBA star Lisa Leslie about Kobe Bryant.
The CBS anchor sat down with Leslie to talk about Bryant’s life and legacy, and at one point King brought up the sexual assault allegations against him that were later dismissed.
“It’s been said that his legacy is complicated because of a sexual assault charge which was dismissed in 2003, 2004. Is it complicated for you, as a woman, as a WNBA player?” King asked Leslie.
“It’s not complicated for me at all… I have never seen him being the kind of person that would do something to violate a woman or be aggressive in that way,” Leslie replied. “That’s just not the person that I know.”
“But Lisa, you wouldn’t see it though. As his friend, you wouldn’t see it,” King said.
“And that’s possible,” Leslie responded. “I just don’t believe that, and I’m not saying things didn’t happen. I just don’t believe that things [happened] with force.”
— CBS This Morning (@CBSThisMorning) February 4, 2020
After enormous backlash across social media, King took to her Instagram on Thursday morning to record a video in which she explains what went down.
“I’ve been up reading the comments about the interview I did with Lisa Leslie about Kobe Bryant,” King said. “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,” King continued, referencing the clip that was shared on social media by CBS.
“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.
“I really want people to understand what happened here and how I’m feeling about it,” she said. “I believe that Lisa was OK with the interview and I felt really good about the interview.”
Later in the video, she added, “I have been with Kobe Bryant on many social occasions. He was very kind and very warm to me. I felt that 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.”