Ta-Nehisi Coates addresses men “too weak” to disagree with Gayle King respectfully, #IStandWithGayle trends

Ta-Nehisi Coates National Correspondent, The Atlantic; Author, ?We Were Eight Years in Power? appears on “Meet the Press” in Washington, D.C., Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017. (Photo by: William B. Plowman/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images)

For the last week, Gayle King has been the target of misogynistic attacks after CBS released a sensational clip of her questioning Lisa Leslie about Kobe Bryant’s sexual assault case. Now writer Ta-Nehisi Coates has issued a statement advising Black men they need to take a look in the mirror when it comes to how viciously they chose to “drag” the journalist.

“When I first met @gayleking she was hurrying off set and into the green room with a copy of my book. Post-its were poking out of the pages. Pages were dog-eared. I seem to remember her having questions scrawled on yellow legal paper,” the author recalls during a lengthy Instagram post.

READ MORE: What the response to Gayle King’s Lisa Leslie interview reveals about “dragging culture”

“This was impressive. You’d be surprised how many interviewers are just master bullshit artists. Not Gayle. She reads. She studies. She prepares,” he continued. “I’ve benefited from Gayle’s preparation multiple times since that first interview. I’m trying to think of another journalist more instrumental in whatever awareness people have of my work, and I can’t. I say this as a black writer. I say this as a black man.”

And as a Black man, Coates then addresses the angry mob that has sought to take King down via disrespectful messages, all under the guise of showing respect to Bryant. An irony of logic that isn’t lost on him.

READ MORE: Oprah gets emotional revealing that Gayle King is receiving death threats

“It is perhaps naive to expect black men to be better—oppression is always demeaning and rarely ennobling. But black men, perhaps more than other men, have some inkling of what it’s like to have a body that can be taken for someone else’s pleasure. Indeed, we know more than we want to say, because if we ever said it all we might never stop crying. Maybe that really is the root of this,” he hypothesizes.

But then he chips away at all the excuses the King bashers have been using to spew their vitriol towards the journalist and mother. He reminds his followers that the reaction she’s received is disproportionate to her perceived crime.

“It’s certainly not about “protecting” anyone’s memory or their families,” he pushes back. “Men who want to hurt have been using the language of “protection” all my life. It’s certainly isn’t about Weinstein. Only a fool tolerates serial killing because Ted Bundy was once a neighbor.”

READ MORE: Susan Rice slams Snoop Dogg for threatening Gayle King

“Whatever it’s about, there’s really no way to be neutral here. Gayle King dared speak of a man as though he were one, and a lot of us f***ing lost it. We did not calmly express our dislike of the question. We were too weak for that. We threatened. We dragged. And we attacked,” he continued, concluding with an anecdote about how, “A friend, watching all this said, “damn, Gayle has a son.” To which I could only respond, “these dudes have sons too.” And this is what we’re teaching them.”

“It’s wrong,” he concludes. “We should want more. We should be better.”

In the last few days, several celebrities and journalists have come to King’s defense and Monday morning the hashtag #IStandWithGayle was trending on Twitter.

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When I first met @gayleking she was hurrying off set and into the green room with a copy of my book. Post-its were poking out of the pages. Pages were dog-eared. I seem to remember her having questions scrawled on yellow legal paper. This was impressive. You’d be surprised how many interviewers are just master bullshit artists. Not Gayle. She reads. She studies. She prepares. I’ve benefited from Gayle’s preparation multiple times since that first interview. I’m trying to think of another journalist more instrumental in whatever awareness people have of my work, and I can’t. I say this as a black writer. I say this as a black man. It is perhaps naive to expect black men to be better—oppression is always demeaning and rarely ennobling. But black men, perhaps more than other men, have some inkling of what it’s like to have a body that can be taken for someone else’s pleasure. Indeed, we know more than we want to say, because if we ever said it all we might never stop crying. Maybe that really is the root of this. It’s certainly not about “protecting” anyone’s memory or their families. Men who want to hurt have been using the language of “protection” all my life. It’s certainly isn’t about Weinstein. Only a fool tolerates serial killing because Ted Bundy was once a neighbor. Whatever it’s about, there’s really no way to be neutral here. Gayle King dared speak of a man as though he were one, and a lot of us fucking lost it. We did not calmly express our dislike of the question. We were too weak for that. We threatened. We dragged. And we attacked. A friend, watching all this said, “damn, Gayle has a son.” To which I could only respond, “these dudes have sons too.” And this is what we’re teaching them. It’s wrong. We should want more. We should be better.

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