CBS responds to Gayle King's outrage over viral Kobe clip

Shortly after the news broke that Kobe Bryant and eight others had been killed in a helicopter crash on Jan. 26, 2020, fans and celebrities alike took to social media to mourn the death of the NBA legend. However, while many were posting touching tributes to Bryant in the hours following his untimely death, one reporter took the opportunity to remind followers of dark circumstances surrounding the life of the L.A. Lakers star. Minutes after it was confirmed that Bryant had passed away, The Washington Post reporter Felicia Sonmez took to Twitter to share a 2016 article titled, "Kobe Bryant's Disturbing Rape Case: The DNA Evidence, the Accuser's Story, and the Half-Confession."

The since-deleted tweet immediately sparked outrage. Sonmez responded by tweeting: "Well, THAT was eye-opening (via the Daily Mail). "To the 10,000 people (literally) who have commented and emailed me with abuse and death threats, please take a moment and read the story ... Any public figure is worth remembering in their totality even if that public figure is beloved and that totality unsettling." The same day as the incident, The Washington Post suspended Sonmez, and then two days later, it reinstated her

After that, mainstream media and media personalities seemed to steer clear of that controversial piece of Bryant's past — until Feb. 4, 2020. CBS anchor Gayle King revisited the subject in an interview with Bryant's longtime friend, WNBA star Lisa Leslie. The resulting war of words has been loud and dramatic. Check it out.

Gayle King is 'mortified' by the situation

Gayle King took to Instagram to defend herself against a tidal wave of backlash directed at her Kobe Bryant segment. In a video captioned "My perspective," the CBS anchor criticized the network for choosing the clip that it did to promote her interview with Lisa Leslie. In the clip from the interview, which has since gone viral, King asks Leslie about Bryant's 2003 sexual assault case.

"I am mortified. I am embarrassed and I am very angry," King said in response to that clip. "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." King continued, "For the network to take the most salacious part, when taken out of context and put it up online for people who didn't see the whole interview is very upsetting to me and that's something I'm going to have to deal with, with them." According to King, "There will be a very intense discussion about that."

Seemingly in response to King's Instagram post, CBS released a statement (via E! News) noting that King "conducted a thoughtful, wide-ranging interview" and that the network has made changes to the "internal process that led to this."

Regardless of the changes that have allegedly been made, the damage is done.

Celebrities have blasted Gayle King's interview

In her video message, Gayle King said that she didn't know anything about her controversial interview clip until she started receiving calls about it and reading the backlash directed at her online. Celebrities are among those who've bashed the esteemed journalist.

Snoop Dogg, who was one of many celebs to post a touching tribute to Bryant after his death, took to Instagram to post a video of his own in response to King's clip. "Gayle King, out of pocket for that s**t, way out of pocket. What do you gain from that? I swear to God, we the worst, we the f**king worst. We expect more from you, Gayle, don't you hang out with Oprah?" The rapper also insinuated that she was asking questions about the wrong people. "You ain't coming after f**king Harvey Weinstein asking him dumb-a** questions. I get sick of you all..." The rapper captioned the post: "P.S.A. Let the family mourn in peace."

Even disgraced comedy legend Bill Cosby also had a few words to say on the matter. "It's so sad and disappointing that successful Black Women are being used to tarnish the image and legacy of successful Black Men, even in death," he wrote from behind bars. Cosby even added the hashtag #ThankYouSnoopDogg to the post.

Despite all the backlash, one of King's longtime friends is standing by her side.

Oprah is standing by Gayle King's side through the storm

Oprah Winfrey is proving that she is a true ride or die friend. During an appearance on Hoda & Jenna & Friends on Feb.7, 2020, Winfrey opened up to co-anchor Hoda Kotb about how Gayle King is doing. "She is not doing well," Winfrey said, tearing up (via People). "She has now death threats and has to now travel with security and she's feeling very much attacked. You know, Bill Cosby is tweeting from jail." Winfrey added that her friend "feels that she was put in a really terrible position."

Despite the controversy, Winfrey is confident that things will get better — it's just going to take some time. "Obviously all things pass, she will be okay, but she hasn't slept in two days."

It's clear that Winfrey is trying to be as supportive as she can, helping her longtime friend navigate the backlash. "You know, I was on the phone with her this morning, I was on the phone with her last night, I was on the phone with her the night before," Winfrey said. "I think you stand in the gap, you try to be there for your friends. But this is very hard, because when you have social media and the force of social media, and particularly people who didn't see either interview, making attacks."

While it seems like King has no choice but to weather the storm, at least she doesn't have to do it alone.