Journalist Gayle King has reportedly received death threats due to remarks she made against the late basketball player Kobe Bryant on a CBS interview with retired US Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) star Lisa Leslie on February 5.
According to close friend media executive Oprah Winfrey, King has received is traveling with security due to concerns over her safety. “She is not doing well, she now has death threats, and has to now travel with security and she is feeling very much attacked. Bill Cosby is tweeting from jail,” Winfrey said during an emotional televised interview on the “Today with Hoda & Jenna” show on February 7.
Social media backlash
Reactions on social media were strong when American rappers Snoop Dogg and 50 Cent began attacking King after the journalist asked about Bryant’s rape accusations during her interview with Leslie. King had asked Leslie whether Bryant’s legacy includes his alleged rape allegations in 2003, which was settled in a civil suit and was reportedly dismissed.
A few days later on February 8, however, Snoop Dogg uploaded a video on Instagram, claiming to be a nonviolent person and that he, in fact, does not wish any harm to King.
King has said the interview excerpt that has been circulating around social media is extremely selective. She reportedly criticized CBS News for the way the interview was edited and claimed that the excerpt was taken out of context. “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 is very jarring. It’s jarring to me,” King said on social media.
Support for King
The head of CBS News has called the threats reprehensible and says that the network is in full support of King. “We fully support Gayle King and her integrity as a journalist.
We find the threats against her or any journalist doing their job reprehensible,” said CBS News Chief Susan Zirinsky.
Others have also spoken out in defense of King, including New Jersey Senator Cory Booker, former US Ambassador Susan Rice as well as NBC presenter Willie Geist.
“For those of you criticizing @GayleKing, go watch her full interview. For many of you, check your misogyny. For those threatening her and inciting violence, stop it immediately. This is unacceptable. We must do better,” Booker tweeted.