Gayle King Receives Overwhelming Backlash For Interview Question About Kobe Bryant’s 2003 Rape Accusation
Gayle King is facing some backlash over an interview question concerning Kobe Bryant. While interviewing former WNBA star Lisa Leslie, Gayle King asked about the 2003 rape accusation that Kobe Bryant faced.
In 2003, Kobe Bryant was arrested in connection with an investigation of a sexual assault complaint filed by a 19-year-old hotel employee. Bryant had checked into The Lodge and Spa at Cordillera in Eagle County in advance of undergoing knee surgery nearby. The accuser stated that Bryant raped her in his hotel room the night before Bryant was to have the procedure. Bryant admitted to an adulterous sexual encounter with his accuser but denied her sexual assault allegation.
The accusation tarnished Bryant’s reputation, and the public’s perception of him plummeted; his endorsement contracts with McDonald’s and Nutella were terminated. Sales for Bryant’s replica jersey fell significantly.However, in September 2004, the assault case was dropped by prosecutors after the accuser decided not to testify at the trial. Afterward, Bryant agreed to apologize to her for the incident, including his public mea culpa:
Although I truly believe this encounter between us was consensual, I recognize now that she did not and does not view this incident the same way I did. After months of reviewing discovery, listening to her attorney, and even her testimony in person, I now understand how she feels that she did not consent to this encounter.
The accuser filed a separate civil lawsuit against Bryant, which the two sides settled privately.
In the interview, Lisa Leslie says this portion of his life story doesn’t tarnish his legacy in her eyes. She says,
“It’s not complicated for me at all…Even if there’s a few times that we’ve been at a club at the same time, Kobe’s not the kind of guy, never been, like, ‘Lis, go get that girl,’ or ‘tell her,’ or ‘send her this.’ I have other NBA friends that are like that. Kobe, he was never like that…I never saw 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…I just don’t believe that, and I’m not saying things didn’t happen. I just don’t believe that things didn’t happen with force.”
“I think the media should be more respectful at this time…It’s like if you had questions about it, you had many years to ask him that. I don’t think it’s something that we should keep hanging over his legacy.”
Gayle King is now trending over the interview, with some finding offense to the question that she posed. See the reactions below.
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