On Tuesday (Feb. 4) “CBS This Morning” aired an interview between the show’s co-host Gayle King and WNBA champion Lisa Leslie. As a longtime friend of Kobe Bryant’s, Leslie spoke to King about the tragic loss of the legendary basketball player, his lasting legacy and more.
On Wednesday (Feb. 5), a snippet of the interview circulated social media of King and Leslie discussing a 2003 rape accusation against Bryant. Some Twitter users criticized King for bringing up the subject so soon after the beloved athlete’s death, while others applauded Leslie’s handling of the situation.
Now, King has reflected on the viral interview snippet and shared her perspective on Twitter.
“I am mortified. I’m embarrassed. And I am very angry,” she began. “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.”
King claimed she was unaware that CBS would circulate that particular snippet of the interview and said she understood why viewers had been upset.
“I reached out to Lisa because I know that she’s a longtime friend of Kobe’s, to talk about his legacy and their friendship,” she explained. “We had a really wide-ranging interview, talked about many things—his career, his passion, sense of humor, the way he was mentoring other people, how he was starting his next chapter… and yes, we talked about that court case and I wanted to get Lisa’s take on it as a friend who knew him well, what she thought [and] where that should stand.”
“I thought it was very powerful when she looked me in the eye, as a member of the media, and said it’s time for the media to leave it alone and back off,” King continued. “During the course of the interview, I asked follow-up questions because I wanted to make sure that her position and perspective were very clear… I insisted that part be in the interview because I thought that put a nice button on that part of the conversation.”
Closing out her video, King aired her frustrations about the network sharing what she called the most “salacious” snippet of the interview and revealed she’ll be following up with CBS about the incident. King also reminisced on her own relationship with Bryant.
“He was very kind and very warm to me, I felt that we had a friendly relationship,” she said. “I, too am mourning his loss… and the last thing I would want to do is disparage him at this particular time.”
Bryant passed away on Jan. 26 along with his daughter Gianna and seven others in a deadly helicopter crash. See King’s full videos below.