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Gayle King responds after backlash to Kobe Bryant remarks

King asked questions about the Kobe Bryant rape case in a recent interview, stirring backlash

Gayle King at Apple’s global premiere of “The Morning Show” at Josie Robertson Plaza and David Geffen Hall, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Monday, Oct. 28, 2019 in New York.
Gayle King at Apple’s global premiere of “The Morning Show” at Josie Robertson Plaza and David Geffen Hall, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Monday, Oct. 28, 2019 in New York.
Greg Allen/Invision/AP

Gayle King has responded to the backlash that followed her asking about Kobe Bryant’s rape case in a conversation with WNBA legend Lisa Leslie.

What happened: King asked Leslie if she thinks Bryant — who died on Jan. 26 in a helicopter crash — will have a tarnished legacy because of the 2003 sexual assault allegations, according to Business Insider.

  • King: “Is it complicated for you, as a woman, as a WNBA player?”
  • Leslie: “It’s not complicated for me at all.”
  • Leslie said Bryant was not 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.”
  • Leslie: “I think the media should be more respectful at this time. 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.”

Some context: NBC News said: “Bryant was accused in 2003 of sexually assaulting a 19-year-old hotel employee in Colorado. He was charged with rape, but the case was dropped after the accuser declined to testify. A civil suit was later settled. The NBA star, who married wife Vanessa in 2001, admitted to having had sex with the woman, but insisted that it was consensual.”

Response: King responded to the social media backlash on Twitter, slamming the fact that CBS only aired a part of her interview.

  • King: “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’m 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 was wide-ranging. ... Yes, we talked about that court case because that court case has also come up. And I wanted to get Lisa’s take on it as a friend who knew him well.”