Oprah Winfrey is speaking out in support of her long time friend Gayle King after the veteran journalist came under fire for bringing up Kobe Bryant’s rape case during an interview with WNBA star Lisa Leslie.
Sports fans and celebrities alike have been coming for King hard for what they believe to be attempting to smear Bryant’s legacy just one week after he died in a helicopter crash in Los Angeles, along with his daughter Gianna and seven others.
The late NBA icon was accused of sexually assaulting a hotel employee in Colorado in 2003. Bryant was charged with rape, but the case was dropped after the accuser declined to testify. She later filed a civil suit that was settled.
In an Instagram response video that went viral, Snoop Dogg issued a threat to King, saying “How dare you try to tarnish my motherf–king homeboy’s reputation, punk motherf–ker?” he ranted. “Respect the family and back off, bitch, before we come get you.”
And on that note, King is said to be depressed over the ongoing backlash to her interview with Leslie for CBS This Morning, so Winfrey hit up the Today show Friday and became visibly emotional while speaking with Hoda Kotb and Jenna Bush Hager about the controversy, Entertainment Tonight reports.
Winfrey said King is “not doing well” after she came under attack, and she’s even receiving death threats.
“May I say, she is not doing well. She is not doing well because she has, now, death threats and has to now travel with security and she’s feeling very much attacked,” Winfrey said.
She added, “She is not doing well and feels that she was put in a really terrible position because that interview had already run. And in the context of the interview, everyone seemed fine, including Lisa Leslie, and it was only because somebody at the network put up that clip. And I can see how people would obviously be very upset if you thought that Gayle was just trying to press to get an answer from Lisa Leslie. She obviously, all things pass, she will be OK, but she hasn’t slept in two days.”
Multiple people have accused both King and Winfrey of using their platforms to tear down Black men accused of sex crimes while ignoring similar crimes leveled against influential white males, such as Harvey Weinstein, Les Moonves, and Larry King. Even incarcerated star Bill Cosby tweeted Snoop Dogg from prison to thank him for ripping into King over the interview.
“Bill Cosby is… tweeting from jail and she’s not doing well and feels she was put in a really terrible position because that interview had already run and in the context of the interview, everyone seemed fine,” said Winfrey on Today. “It was only because somebody, at the network, put up that clip. And I can see how people would obviously be very upset if you thought that Gayle was trying to press to get an answer from Lisa Leslie.”
King previously responded to the fury against her via a video clip published on her social, in which she blames CBS for uploading an ‘out of context’ clip of her interview with Leslie.