Gayle King Calls Out CBS After Backlash For Asking Lisa Leslie About Kobe Bryant Allegation: I Am Too Mourning His Loss, Like Everybody Else

Gayle King, Lisa Leslie, Kobe Bryant

Gayle King Calls Out CBS After Backlash For Asking Lisa Leslie About Kobe Bryant Allegation: I Am Too Mourning His Loss, Like Everybody Else

Gayle King is setting the record straight after she was slammed over her recent interview with WNBA superstar Lisa Leslie. 

The CBS This Morning co-host sat down with Lisa Leslie to discuss the legacy of late NBA icon Kobe Bryant. He, along with his 13-year-old daughter Gianna Bryant, and seven other victims tragically died after a helicopter crash earlier this month.

While speaking with Lisa Leslie, Gayle King asked if sexual assault charges against him, that were dismissed in 2003, muddied his legacy at all.

Kobe Bryant fans flocked to social media to call out Gayle King. She responded to one critic on Twitter Wednesday (Feb. 5).

Just hours later, she offered a deeper explanation and called out the network for releasing a clip that she said was taken out of context.

“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 would 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. It’s jarring to me!”

She added she had no clue what was going on when people called and questioned her about the clip.

“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.”

She continued and said she was “advised” to keep quiet, but decided to go against it.

“That’s not good enough for me. I really want people to understand what happened here and how I’m feeling about it.”

She shared her side of what happened and said,

“I reached out to Lisa because I know that she’s a long-time friend of Kobe’s, to talk about their legacy and their friendship. We had a really, wide-ranging interview, talked about many things; his career, his passion, his sense of humor, the way he was mentoring other people, how he was starting his next chapter. It was wide-ranging. And yes, we talked about his court case, but that court case has come up. And I wanted to get Lisa’s take on it as a friend who knew him well, what she thought, where that should stand.”

She added,

“I thought it was very powerful when she looked me in the eye, as a member of the media when she said ‘It’s time for the media to leave it alone and to back off.’ During the course of the interview, I asked follow-up questions because I wanted to make sure her position and perspective were very clear. At the end when she said it’s time to leave it alone, I thought that was powerful. I insisted that part be in the interview because I thought it put a nice button on that part of the conversation.”

“When the interview aired, we had a great reaction to it. I talked to Lisa last night, I believe that Lisa was okay with the interview, and I felt really good about the interview, really good about the interview. So for the network to take the most salacious part, when taken out of context, and put it up online for people who didn’t see the whole interview, is very upsetting to me and that’s something I’m going to have to deal with with them. There will be a very intense discussion about that.”

She ended with,

“I have been with Kobe Bryant on many social occasions. He was very kind and very warm to me, and 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. I hope people understand that. That’s why I’m taking this time to speak to you directly. I’ve never done one of these before. But this was so important to me that I felt that I had to say something. I don’t want to sit up on a set and read a prepared remark, I wanted you to hear exactly where I’m coming from and how I’m feeling. And to let everybody know, that no disrespect intended. And now I’ve gotta go to work. I thank you for listening.”

See King’s full interview with Lisa Leslie below.

Do you think Gayle King’s question was taken out of context? Tell us in the comments.

Authored by: Char Patterson