Oprah Winfrey says the backlash her BFF Gayle King has received from the Kobe Bryant comments is so bad, she is now getting death threats, and has to travel with a security team.
Winfrey appeared this morning on ‘Hoda & Jenna & Friends,’ and was asked by the hosts, “I think the last 24 hours for your best friend have been pretty difficult after that interview with Lisa Leslie about Kobe. And I just wondered just how she’s doing.” Oprah responded while getting choked up, “She is not doing well.”
She continued, “She has now death threats and has to now travel with security and she’s feeling very much attacked. You know, Bill Cosby is tweeting from jail.”
Oprah went on the further explain Gayle’s position, saying she “feels that she was put in a really terrible position. In the context of the interview, everyone seemed fine, including Lisa Leslie. And it was only because somebody at the network put up that clip.”
She admitted in the interview she understands why people were upset with the promo clip but says it was taken out of context.
“And I can see how people would obviously be very upset if you thought that Gayle was just trying to press to get an answer from Lisa Leslie,” Winfrey explained. Adding, “Obviously all things pass, she will be okay, but she hasn’t slept in two days.”
Oprah then slammed the group of people who are pushing the public attack against Gayle, saying, “the misogynist vitriol and the attacking” reaches a point “where it is dangerous to be in the streets alone. It’s not just the people who are attacking. It’s the other people who take that message and feel like they can do whatever they want to because of it, you know?”
She continued, “You know, I was on the phone with her this morning, I was on the phone with her last night, I was on the phone with her the night before. I think you stand in the gap, you try to be there for your friends. But this is very hard, because when you have social media and the force of social media, and particularly people who didn’t see either interview, making attacks.”
Gayle is catching tons of heat after grilling basketball star Lisa Leslie about Kobe Bryant’s sexual assault charges. “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.
Lisa responded, “It’s not complicated for me at all,” she said. Adding, “I just never have ever seen him being the kind of person that would do something to violate a woman or be aggressive in that way. That’s just not the person that I know.”
Gayle then pressed for a further explanation of her position on it.
After CBS ran a promo clip of the interview, featuring just this interaction, many were upset with King including Snoop Dogg and 50 Cent, who let their feelings be known on social media.
King addressed the situation on social media, saying, “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. 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.”
As we reported, Bill Cosby also addressed the situation from his prison cell, defending Snopp’s position, “It’s so sad and disappointing that successful Black Women are being used to tarnish the image and legacy of successful Black Men, even in death. Are these people that in need of fame, ratings and/or money? On behalf of myself, Camille and my family, thank you, thank you and thank you.”