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Gayle King Faces Backlash for Asking Lisa Leslie About Kobe Bryant’s Rape Charge

In the wake of Kobe Bryant’s death, there were three kinds of groups: people that mourned his passing, people that wanted to discuss his 2003 rape allegations, and people that mourned his loss while also acknowledging the rape allegations. Which group do you belong to? Gayle King, the chief anchor for CBS News and Oprah’s BFF, wanted to know where WNBA player Lisa Leslie stood on this discussion and is getting significant backlash for it. 

In a clip that is going viral on Twitter, King asked Leslie in an interview, “It’s been said that his legacy is complicated, because of a sexual assault charge that was dismissed in 2003, 2004. Is it complicated for you, as a woman, as a WNBA player?” Leslie brilliantly replied with a posied answer and said, “it’s not complicated for me at all … I just never see — have ever seen him being the kind of person that would be — do something to violate a woman or be aggressive in that way. That’s just not the person that I know.” But King didn’t leave the conversation there. She pressed further and said, “But Lisa, you wouldn’t see it though. As his friend, you wouldn’t see it.”

Leslie continued with her point with a remark clearly directed at King by saying, “I think the media should be more respectful at this time. It’s like if you had questions about it, you’ve had many years to ask him that. I don’t think its something we should hang over his legacy.” When King said that the case never went to trial because the alleged victim didn’t want to testify, Leslie said, “I think that’s how we should leave it.”

People on social media were agitated at King, and her determination to discuss the rape allegations. Actress Vivica A. Fox said on Instagram, “Waking up to this interview and was just really pissed off! LIKE YO! I realize folks gotta do they job, but this is just disrespectful in my opinion #CLOUTCHASER.” She also said, “MUCH LUV & RESPECT goes to Lisa Leslie for your AMAZING support of Kobe Bryant.”

The clip was shared by her network yesterday, and this morning King addressed the backlash and said that her interview with Leslie included many other topics about Bryant. She said the network posted that clip out of context

“I felt 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 them. There will be a very intense discussion about that,” she said. 

We know King is an excellent interviewer, so we’re curious to hear the interview conversation between her and Leslie. Here’s a portion of it below.