Gayle King getting death threats after interviewing Lisa Leslie about Kobe Bryant's rape allegation

Posted at 11:28 PM, Feb 07, 2020

CBS Morning Show host Gayle King had an interview with WNBA legend Lisa Leslie that King called "wide ranging" on Leslie's friendship with NBA star Kobe Bryant. Bryant and eight others died on Jan. 26 when a helicopter crashed into a hillside in Southern California.

A snippet of the interview teased by CBS revealed that King asked Leslie about her thoughts on allegations that Bryant had sexually assaulted a woman in 2003. After the preview of the video was released, King took flak from a number of viewers, and even reportedly received death threats.

On NBC on Friday, King's long-time friend Oprah Winfrey revealed that King was receiving the threats via social media.

"She is not doing well. May I say she is not doing well because she has now death threats, and now has to travel with security, and she's feeling very much attacked," Winfrey said.

In a social media post on Thursday, King expressed her displeasure with CBS on the snippet of the interview that was released.

"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. I am very angry," King said. "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."

CBS released the following statement to Deadline :

“Gayle conducted a thoughtful, wide-ranging interview with Lisa Leslie about the legacy of Kobe Bryant,” the statement said. “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.”

Adding fuel to the criticism against King was a video by Snoop Dogg that was accusatory of King.

The question King posed to Leslie was on if Bryant's legacy was complicated because of the rape allegations. Leslie responded, "It's not complicated for me at all."

King is not the only journalist who has caught heat for bringing up Bryant's past. A Washington Post reporter tweeted a link on Bryant's rape allegations hours after his death, causing the reporter to be temporarily suspended.