In an interview following the tragic death of Kobe Bryant in January 2020, Gayle King of CBS News talked with American former professional basketball player Lisa Leslie. The two discussed Leslie’s friendship with Bryant, and her response to the news. During the interview, King mentioned Bryant’s “complicated” legacy, inferring to the rape allegations brought against Kobe Bryant, which were dismissed in 2003. She goes on to ask Leslie if [it] is complicated for her as a WNBA player. Leslie responded saying that it wasn’t complicated for her and that she never experienced inappropriate behavior or discomfort in her friendship with Kobe Bryant. King responded that Leslie wouldn’t, as his friend, have seen that behavior, and asks if it is fair to still talk about it since his passing; if it is indeed part of his history. Leslie’s response is this: “The media should be more respectful at this time. If you have questions about it, you’ve had many years to ask him about it. It isn’t something we should hold over his legacy.”

 

Lisa Leslie is an intelligent woman and answered these questions eloquently. Co-host Brian Shapiro agrees with her one hundred and fifty percent. He asks, though, if Gayle King should have brought these questions up. What she asked wasn’t necessarily wrong, she asked fair questions to a former female professional basketball player. It was personal preference and not a topic every interviewer would bring up. Many are upset and are taking their opinions to social media, including (laughably) convicted sex-offender Bill Cosby. Cosby is currently serving a three to ten year sentence in state prison after being convicted of three counts of aggravated indecent assault. King is also receiving death threats from those upset about her questions. Shapiro suggests, “If you are a Kobe Bryant fan, do you think he would support you doing that?” 

 

Another high profile response was that of rapper Snoop Dogg. “Gayle King, out of pocket for that s***. Way out of pocket. What do you gain from that? I swear to God, we’re the worst. We’re the f***ing worst. We expect more for you, Gayle. Don’t you hang out with Oprah? Why are you attacking us? We’re you’re people. You’re not coming after [Harvey Weinstein] with those questions. I get sick of you all. I want to call you one. Is it okay if I call her one? Funky dog headed b****. How dare you try to tarnish my homeboy’s reputation? Respect the family and back off, b****. Before we come get you. 

 

First of all, Snoop is way out of line. Saying “before we come get you” is a threat, and calling her foul names is far past the line. Just because you are an African American doesn’t mean people can’t criticize you. Co-host JD Sharp says it is part of Kobe’s life and it is a legitimate question. What was more disappointing to him is how CBS portrayed the clip, having this topic of conversation the main focal point of the interview. Gayle King is smart and has been doing this for a long time. She understands that this is about clicks and ratings. Of all people, she would know they would take the most provocative clip of an interview, whether she agrees with it or not, and they are going to use it to try and get people to watch the interview. Gayle King is wrong for going after CBS because if she didn’t want it brought up, then she shouldn’t have brought it up herself. What was inappropriate, however, was her suggestive phrasing. She didn’t say Kobe Bryant was a rapist, but she said the charges were dropped. And when Lisa Leslie said he never acted that way around her, King’s phrasing again suggested Kobe doesn’t know how he acts when she’s not there, which was inappropriate. 

 

However, when comparing Gayle King’s interview questions and Snoop Dogg’s response, Snoop is far more at fault. Threatening her and calling her derogatory names took it too far and he should formally apologize. 

Rachael Edlow

Privacy Preference Center

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