Oprah Defends BFF Gayle King Over Kobe Bryant Questions: ‘She’s Receiving Death Threats’

In the wake of Gayle King’s recent controversy, Oprah Winfrey is stepping up in defense of her longtime friend. What began as an interview about Kobe Bryant quickly turned to backlash. Here’s what Oprah says about the situation, and how King is doing.

Gayle King apologized for promos the network released

Oprah
Oprah Winfrey on ‘CBS This Morning’ | CBS via Getty Images

The Feb. 5 interview between CBS This Morning host, Gayle King, and WNBA star, Lisa Leslie, garnered King immediate backlash once King pressed Leslie for answers regarding Bryant’s 2003 sexual assault case.

Leslie defended Bryant, asking the public to be more sensitive in light of the tragedy. She pointed out the alleged incident took place long enough ago, the media had due time to ask questions — but now isn’t it.

Reactions to that portion of the interview were swift and harsh. King felt the clip didn’t show the full context of the interview. Angry responses to the clip forced King to make a public apology, which she posted on social media.

In part, King said she’d be just as angry if she saw the same clip, referring to it as “jarring.” Since then, responses to the cycle of events have only gotten worse. Now, Oprah, is speaking out in her defense.

Oprah says King is ‘receiving death threats’

Among those who slammed King, are rapper Snoop Dogg, 50 Cent, and even Bill Cosby, straight from his jail cell. Two days after the interview clip went viral, Oprah gave an update on King’s state of mind.

During a segment on The Today Show, Oprah gave a tearful explanation of what’s happened in those brief 48 hours.

“She is not doing well,” she said. “She has now death threats, has to now travel with security, and she’s feeling very much attacked. You know, Bill Cosby is tweeting from jail.”

She continued: “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 added that in time, the dust will settle and King will “be OK.” However, she added, “she hasn’t slept in two days.” Oprah revealed she’s been checking in on King often, since the controversy.

“I was on the phone with her this morning,” she said. “I was on the phone with her last night. I was on the phone with her the night before. I think you stand in the gap. You try and be there for your friends.”

Oprah said she isn’t happy with the way King is being attacked. She blames “hate” and meanness” for King’s treatment.

“I think anyone can criticize anything, but the misogynist vitriol and the attacking to the point where it is dangerous to be in the streets alone because it’s not just the people who are attacking,” she said. “It’s the other people who take that message and feel like they can do whatever they want to because of it.”

Some believe Oprah should’ve persuaded King to avoid the interview

In an interesting turn of events, some fans place some of the blame on Oprah for King’s debacle.

“And y’all can tell #oprah that she’s the last person that should be speaking on behalf of #gayle right now… She should have spoke to her before the interview and told her not to do it,” this person tweeted.

Many are still angry at the way things played out nearly two weeks after Bryant’s tragic passing, but some stand by Oprah and King.

She deserves better. She has done more for her community and African communities than any single person trying to bad mouth her and Gayle. What have you done for your community that makes you better than them? #Oprah#Gayle,” another tweeted.

And another: “I will literally never turn on #Oprah OR #Gayle… I love them. They’re awesome and do soooo much for the community. There are far more problematic ppl for y’all to attack bruh.”

Whichever side you fall on, may peace be with the families of all victims lost in the Jan. 26 crash.