Gayle King is facing backlash for an interview that she did with WNBA star Lisa Leslie when she brought up Kobe Bryant‘s “complicated” legacy, specifically referencing the rape allegations made against Bryant in 2003. Leslie responded, saying:
“It’s not complicated for me at all. I just have never seen him as being the kind of person that would do something violating to a woman or be aggressive in that way, that’s just not the person I know.”
King defended herself on Instagram, explaining that the clip had been taken out of the broader context of the interview, saying “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.”
— CBS Mornings (@CBSMornings) February 4, 2020
The social media backlash was intense, with many people calling King’s question “disrespectful.” Rapper Snoop Dogg’s response was particularly harsh, going on an Instagram rant and saying in a video “Funky dog head b*tch…respect the family and backoff. Before we come get you.”
The debate over who is in the wrong here has been a complicated one, and social media has been a mess. #IStandWithGayle trended on Monday, showing that some people supported her while she asked the difficult questions.
Senator Cory Booker was one of the celebrities who spoke out in support of King, tweeting that people should watch the full video for context:
“For those of you criticizing @GayleKing, go watch her full interview. For many of you, check your misogyny. For those threatening her and inciting violence, stop it immediately. This is unacceptable. We must do better.”
“Gayle, you are grace, honor, decency and professionalism embodied. You are one of the best there is at what you do.”
Snoop Dogg eventually claimed that he didn’t threaten King, saying that he was “a non-violent person.”
For those of you criticizing @GayleKing, go watch her full interview.
For many of you, check your misogyny.
For those threatening her and inciting violence, stop it immediately.
This is unacceptable. We must do better.
— Cory Booker (@CoryBooker) February 7, 2020
Actress and Me Too activist Rose McGowan also tweeted her support for King, offering up the position that Bryant could have a complicated past and have grown into a hero.
“You want to know why Kobe Bryant is a hero? He apologized to a hurt young woman. Snoop & others it’s time to stop terrorizing
@gayleking & @feliciasonmez Truth hurts. Death hurts. Grow the fuck up. Kobe stopped hurting women, so can you”
“I stand fiercely with @gayleking one of the most beloved journalists, mothers and friends of our time. 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.”