In response to the backlash surrounding Gayle King’s controversial interview with Lisa Leslie, CBS released a statement.
A rep for the network told TMZ, “Gayle conducted a thoughtful, wide-ranging interview with Lisa Leslie about the legacy of Kobe Bryant. An excerpt was posted that did not reflect the nature and tone of the full interview. We are addressing the internal process that led to this and changes have already been made.”
The WNBA star sat down with the “CBS This Morning” host for a special interview on Wednesday to discuss the tragic loss of Bryant, his daughter Gianna Bryant and the seven others who were killed in a helicopter crash two weeks ago. During the discussion, King decided to bring up the rape allegations that were made against the late basketball icon in the early 2000s.
“It’s been said that his legacy is complicated because of a sexual assault charge which was dismissed in 2003, 2004,” King began. “Is it complicated for you, as a woman, as a WNBA player?”
“It’s not complicated for me at all,” Leslie hit back, claiming Bryant was “not the kind of guy,” adding, “Kobe, he was never like that.”
She continued: “I just never see — I have never seen 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.”
But King wouldn’t let it drop. “But Lisa, you wouldn’t see it, though,” she said. “As his friend you wouldn’t see it.”
“And that’s possible,” Leslie replied. “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.”
Leslie also argued that it was insensitive of King to bring up the allegations after his death. “I think the media should be more respectful at this time,” she said. “It’s like if you had questions about it, you’ve had many years to ask him that. I don’t think it’s something that we should keep hanging out his legacy.”
On Thursday morning, King responded directly to the controversy in a video on Instagram.
She explained that the clip from the interview shared to social media by “CBS The Morning” took the moment “out of context,” presenting only the most “salacious” part of the exchange.
King added that she was friendly with Bryant and has been mourning his loss, “and the last thing that I would want to do is disparage him at this particular time.”
Even Snoop Dogg fired back at King for bringing up the allegations, issuing an Instagram response of his own, and had some choice words for the morning news anchor.
“Gayle King, you’re out of pocket for that s**t,” said the “Gin & Juice” rapper in a video he shared.
“Way out of pocket. What do you gain from that? We expect more from you, Gayle. Don’t you hang out with Oprah [Winfrey]? Why are you all attacking us? We’re your people. You ain’t come at Harvey Weinstein asking those dumb a** questions.”
He continued: “I’m sick of y’all. I want to call you one, is it okay if I call her one? Funky doghead b***h. How dare you try and tarnish my homeboy’s reputation, punk motherf**ker. Respect the family and back off b***h, before we come get you.”
At the time of the allegations, Bryant settled outside of court.