CBS News Chief Calls Threats Against Gayle King “Reprehensible” – Deadline

Posted 2020/02/09 0

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CBS News President Susan Zirinsky has addressed the fallout from Gayle King’s interview about Kobe Bryant, calling threats against the CBS This Morning co-host “reprehensible.”

“We fully support Gayle King and her integrity as a journalist,” Zirinsky told the Associated Press Saturday. “We find the threats against her or any journalist doing their job reprehensible.”

Zirinsky’s comments came one day after King’s best friend, Oprah Winfrey, revealed in an interview that King is “not doing well.”

“She now has death threats and has to now travel with security,” Winfrey told Hoda Kotb and Jenna Bush Hager on the Today show. “She’s feeling very much attacked.”

CBS declined to discuss the nature of the threats today, but Zirinsky’s statement confirms Winfrey’s account.

The controversy started after King interviewed Bryant’s good friend, former WNBA star Lisa Leslie, about the late Los Angeles Lakers star’s legacy.

In her interview, King asked Lisa Leslie about Bryant’s 2003 sexual assault case in Colorado. Bryant reached an out-of-court settlement with his accuser, and issued a statement saying their sexual encounter may not have seemed consensual to the young woman. King noted that the five-time NBA champion’s legacy is “complicated.”

Leslie replied, “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.”

Bryant was killed in a helicopter crash with eight others in Calabasas, California on Jan. 26. After CBS posted a clip from King’s interview online, Bryant’s fans were in an uproar.

Among the critics were rapper Snoop Dogg, who posted a video on social media warning King to “back off … before we come get you.”

The rapper walked back his comments Saturday with a new video on Instagram, insisting he is a “non-violent person.”

King uploaded her own video on Instagram on Feb. 6, criticizing CBS for posting a “salacious” clip from her interview.

“I’ve been up reading the comments about the interview I did with Lisa Leslie about Kobe Bryant, and I know that if I had only seen the clip that you saw, I’d be extremely angry with me too,” King said.

“I am mortified. I am embarrassed and I am very angry. 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. It’s jarring to me. I didn’t even know anything about it,” she added.





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