Gayle King faced backlash after a clip from an interview that she conducted with WNBA legend Lisa Leslie went viral when King asked about Kobe Bryant’s “complicated legacy” and his rape allegations. Leslie replied that “it’s not complicated” for her and that she had “never seen him being the kind of person that would do something to violate a woman or be aggressive in that way.”
People were angry at King from bringing the rape trial up after Bryant’s tragic death, particularly rapper Snoop Dogg. He went on a lengthy social media rant against King and her best friend, Oprah Winfrey, accusing them of racism and protecting white abusers.
Oprah posted a picture of herself with former First Lady Michelle Obama from the Brooklyn stop on her 2020 Vision Tour. She wrote:
“First Lady @michelleobama was as vibrant, as funny, as truth-telling, as you imagine her to be. Thank you or giving up your Saturday to be with me in Brooklyn. NYC: There’s no place like you.”
While some people in the comment section loved seeing these two powerful women share the stage, others felt like Oprah was deflecting away from the Kobe controversy.
“Don’t try to put Michelle in this Oprah”
“Please tell Gayle to stop bashing Kobe’s legacy”
Winfrey said in an NBC interview on Friday morning that King was not doing well after the clip was taken out of the context of the interview.
“May I say, she is not doing well because she has now death threats, and has to now travel with security and she’s feeling very much attacked.”
She claimed that King “was put in a really terrible position because that interview had already ran.”
“And 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 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. But obviously all things pass, she will be okay but she hasn’t slept in two days.”
Oprah continued, claiming that the backlash had reach dangerous levels.
“Anybody can criticize anything, but the misogynist vitriol and the attacking to the point where it is dangerous to be in the streets alone because it’s not just the people who are attacking, and the other people who take that message and feel like they can do whatever they want because of it.”
Still, Oprah is there for her friend in thick and thin.
“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 people who didn’t see either interview, making attacks, and I think everybody has the right to have their opinion but to do it with such vitriol, hate and meanness.”